21 Apr Union warns on biggest rail strike in history
THE RMT union is preparing to ballot members over what could be the biggest rail strike in British history.
RMT senior assistant general secretary Eddie Dempsey said it is preparing to ballot members over pay freezes and safety standards.
He told GB News: “This dispute’s been a long time in the making. We’ve been through the pandemic period where our members made lots of changes to their working practices and worked right through a pandemic to keep the country moving and many of our members have had pay freezes.
“Now some of them are in the third year of a pay freeze. We’ve changed how we work, we’ve made lots of sacrifices to help the railways going and we’ve been working with the industry in the rail industry recovery group, putting forward ideas on how to help the industry recover.
“But that’s turned into a forum where we’re told now the intention is to strip £2 billion out of the rail industry to make that money come out through stripping out jobs and attacking terms and conditions and keeping wages low.”
Mr Dempsey made his comments during On The Money with Liam Halligan on GB News today.
He said the cuts, which have been proposed because of fewer passenger numbers due to people working at home, threaten to put safety at risk
He added: “We’ve put forward lots of ideas on how they can save money.
“We’ve told them many ways they could make efficiency savings, but they’re intent on making those efficiency savings in removing safety critical jobs, in slashing maintenance standards and safety schedules, and in keeping wages down and tearing up terms and conditions for railway workers.
Mr Dempsey said that money could be saved by cutting pay for executives.
“We’ve pointed out that director pay is out of control with Network Rail
“Seven of the highest paid civil servants in the country are Network Rail employees.
“If you strip their money back, just to what the Prime Minister’s being paid, you’d save nearly £6 million a year.
“They’ve got eight non-executive directors, they spent nearly three quarters of a million pounds for those people to attend eight meetings over one year during a pandemic.”