ASLEF Train drivers on strike today Friday 12th May, then Wednesday 31st May and Saturday 3rd June following rejection of “Risible Pay Offer”
RMT rail workers on strike Saturday 13th May and have reballoted for new strike mandate with whopping 91% YES vote:
“Our members are not prepared to accept a pay offer based on mass job cuts and major attacks on their terms and conditions”.
“The Government and the employers are to blame for the resumption of strike action by rail workers this weekend,” said Martin Mayer, Secretary of Sheffield Trade Union Council. “After months of strike action – and no pay rise for 4 years – the offers currently on the table to the RMT and ASLEF rail unions are still way below inflation meaning it’s another real terms pay cut for rail workers. Furthermore, promises of improved offers were reneged on at the last minutes causing great anger amongst RMT and ASLEF members.”
The Government and the Private Rail Operators have failed to make reasonable offers:
RMT rail workers have been offered a backdated pay rise of only 5% for 2022 whilst inflation was – and still is – running at over 10% CPI and up to 14% RPI. As for the 2023 pay rise, an offer would only be made if and when RMT agree big changes to their terms and conditions, which RMT members say will adversely impact their shift patterns, hours of work and threaten jobs. The ASLEF train drivers’ union, meanwhile, has rejected a two-year ‘risible’ offer which would see drivers get a backdated pay rise of just 4% for 2022 and only a 4% increase this year.
ASLEF calls the latest offer “risible”
“ASLEF, the train drivers’ union, has rejected a ‘risible’ pay offer from the 16 train companies with whom we are in dispute – our drivers not having had an increase in salary at these companies since 2019” said Mick Whelan, ASLEF’s General Secretary. “The proposal – of just 4% – was clearly not designed to be accepted as inflation is still running north of 10% and our members at these companies have not had an increase for four years.”
Mick Lynch, RMT General Secretary, commenting on 91% vote to resume strike action “It is clear from these results that members are not prepared to accept a pay offer based on mass job cuts and major attacks on their terms and conditions. This sends a clear message to the employers that the huge anger amongst rail workers is very real and they need to recognise that fact, face reality and make improved proposals. Throughout this dispute – which has gone on for over a year – the government has tied the hands of the railway companies and prevented them offering a fair deal.”
Our privatised railways are in crisis, costing us a fortune and they want to make rail workers pay!
RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said that it was absolutely right not to renew or extend TransPennine Xpress’s contract which was something the union has long campaigned for. “First should now also lose its failed Avanti West Coast contract as part of a return of all our railways to public ownership. With other parts of our railway already nationalised, this decision should now mark the beginning of the end for rail privatisation which has brought nothing but chaos for passengers.” TransPennine Xpress joins Northern Rail and LNER in our Region which are back in public ownership due the costly failures of the private companies
The claim that there’s no money left to pay rail workers properly is just not true.
Senior managers in our industry take home huge salaries; rail operators have paid dividends to their shareholders right through the pandemic, and the rolling stock companies (who own the trains and lease them back out) have made billions.
Industry Facts and Stats (from ASLEF website)
- Before the pandemic, operators were paying out dividends of £262 million to shareholders. Even in the year of the pandemic they paid out £38 million. As passenger numbers go back up, so will the bumper payouts.
- Between March 2020 and March 2021 operators were paid management fees of over £132 million.
- Rolling stock companies (ROSCOs), which own the trains – often commissioned and developed with public money – and lease them back to the operators, received £3 billion in 2020-21. This is a 5% increase from 2019-20, and double what they made in 2015-16.
- ROSCOs have made huge profits. This has particularly been the case during the pandemic, when profits were guaranteed by the taxpayer. In 2020, the ROSCO Eversholt paid a £46.5 million dividend. Porterbrook paid out £80 million in dividends. ROSCOs invest very little money into the industry but reap huge profits out of it.
- 9 of the top 10 highest earning public sector individuals (senior civil servants and officials in departments, agencies and non-departmental bodies) are from the transport industry. 8 out of 10 are from rail. Top of the list if Mark Thurston, Chief Executive of HS2, who earns £620,000. Next is Andrew Haines, Chief Executive of Network Rail, who is on £585,000.
The Real Story (from ASLEF website)
- Government incompetence means the value of workers’ wages is falling
- The Transport Secretary wants rail workers to pay the price for his incompetence on rail in England
- When inflation goes up but wages don’t, that’s a real-terms pay cut. Pay doesn’t go as far.
- Train drivers haven’t had a pay increase since 2019, we just don’t want a third successive pay cut
- Rail bosses still get huge salaries, and the leasing companies who own the trains and rent them back pocketed £3.0 billion from the industry in 2020-21
- Train drivers have given ‘productivity’ and modernisation over the years – the ‘modernisation’ the government wants is a return to Victorian conditions