Rail union RMT will ballot around 5,000 signallers and other key operational staff at Network Rail after rejecting a ‘cynical’ two-year pay deal.
Members had already rejected an original offer of 4.8% in year one and RPI plus 0.5% in year two, but following emergency talks today (17 April) RMT mocked Network Rail’s increase of an additional 0.1% for the first part, taking it to 4.9%.
“The cynical offer of an extra tenth of one per cent in year one on condition that we do not ballot our members simply fails to address our members’ concerns over the second year of the offer,” said RMT general secretary Bob Crow.
“We warned Network Rail that should it fail to table an acceptable offer on the second year of the deal we would ballot for industrial action. With housing costs, utility bills, pensions and food bills rising far faster than the official inflation rate the failure to improve the second-year means our members are looking at a real-terms pay cut.”
Network Rail director of human resources Peter Bennett said the union’s demands are “Unreasonable. A very fair offer is on the table – one that people in any walk of life would recognise as a good deal.
“There will be no public sympathy when such a reasonable deal is on the table especially as we have already tried to break the negotiating deadlock by improving the offer.”
Although he said there was “nowhere left to go” as the company has tabled its best offer, the door remains open to further talks.
And because the improved deal was rejected, Bennett said the offer reverts to the original 4.8% pay award, adding: “We would ask all our employees to carefully consider the offer that compares very favourably with wage settlements across the country. We’d ask that they use their vote to turn away from damaging industrial action.”