The Socialist Unity Network

National rail dispute looms as talks break down

RMT press release


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.


April 2004