TSSA today condemned “out of touch” senior management in Network Rail (NR) after a “foolish” post by the company’s Communications Director went public, and the CEO defended eye watering salaries – including his own – while attacking moves to secure a pay increase for NR workers.
The post, made by the company’s Communications Director in a staff forum, appears to suggest that senior managers’ high pay is “a lesson to those of us who should’ve probably worked harder in school.”
This follows a demand by TSSA – which represents thousands of workers across Network Rail – for an inflation-matching pay rise for staff, many of whom have had no pay rise for over three years.
TSSA General Secretary, Manuel Cortes, said: “This foolish post by Network Rail’s Communications Director shows how desperately out of touch the company’s fat cats really are.
“It’s insulting to suggest that workers ‘should’ve worked harder in school’, rather than acknowledging the very real cost-of-living problems people suffer when their pay fails to keep up with inflation. These comments sound even more ludicrous when you consider that most of our members are skilled professional staff with many having been university educated.”
The post follows an all-staff email from Network Rail CEO Andrew Haines sent last Friday, in which he angered staff by telling them the company could not afford an RPI pay rise, whilst acknowledging that he was “well paid”. Haines’ salary was reported as being £590,000 in January of this year, making him the second highest-paid public sector official in the country.
“Andrew Haines is sitting on a fat cat salary while his staff see their pay dropping in real terms”, said Manuel Cortes.
“The truth is that the cost-of-living crisis is going to hit the Directors of Network Rail significantly less than the ordinary workers who are seeing their pay fall in real terms whilst their bills soar and the take home pay is cut after the Tories increased National Insurance contributions.
“Haines and his Communications Director, on their more than comfortable wages, have shown just how little they understand – or care about - our members’ real financial problems. That’s only going to come back to bite them if we ballot for industrial action as their words have angered so many of their staff”
TSSA is in dispute with Network Rail over pay, job security and terms and conditions. The union is consulting reps over a ballot for industrial action.
See below a copy of the communication from Andrew Haines, and a screenshot of the comment posted on the staff forum by NR Communications Director.