publication date: 7 April 2004
APRIL 7: THE PROSPECT of a national rail dispute has drawn closer
following yesterday’s breakdown of talks between RMT and Network Rail
over pay, pensions and travel facilities.
The union’s executive will meet next Tuesday to discuss a national
ballot of the union’s 7,000 Network Rail members, including
signalling, maintenance and station staff.
“The company has imposed a pension scheme for new entrants that is
no better than a glorified savings plan subject to the whims of the
market,” RMT general secretary Bob Crow said today.
“Their pay offer of three per cent is the lowest in the rail
industry, and they have refused to follow the Mayor of London’s lead
and re-instate travel facilities to staff who joined the railway after
privatisation in 1996.
“This is a company whose directors have handed themselves bonuses
of up to £450,000 on top of telephone-number salaries and which boasts
of spending £14 million a day.
“Those same directors are looking at another fat bonus if they keep
our members’ pay down.
“What are our members supposed to think when they see their own pay
being squeezed, their decent pension scheme destroyed and nothing done
to end the inequality in travel facilities?
“Those left in the old final-salary pension scheme are destined to
pay ever-increasing costs as the scheme is left to wither on the vine.
“We will not sit back and watch as our members are made to pay the
price of privatisation, and we will not tolerate a two-tier
workforce,” Bob Crow said.