Responding to an Office of Rail and Road (ORR) report published today which claims that rail staff working in maintenance and station roles are overpaid, rail union TSSA said that the report would “stoke anger among rail staff”.
The union is in dispute with Network Rail (NR) and train operators over the issues of pay, job security and working conditions, with rail workers currently in a third or fourth year of a pay freeze in the face of rising living costs and uncertainty in the rail industry.
The report also highlights £1.9 billion of efficiency savings have been made by NR with a total £4bn savings sought by 2024.
TSSA is seeking a guarantee of no compulsory redundancies, a pay rise which meets the rising cost-of-living, and no unagreed changes to terms and conditions. Members of TSSA have taken strike action, with strikes taking place today (Thursday) in GWR and in three more train operators on Saturday.
TSSA General Secretary Manuel Cortes, said: “This report confirms that cuts are already being made to Network Rail through £billions of required 'efficiency' savings and that the company is making progress on cutting its costs.
“The employment costs report will stoke anger from rail workers who are already at breaking point. It's a scandal that in 21st century Britain some of the lowest paid rail workers are not even on the real living wage with many more resorting to food banks and benevolent grants to feed their families and make ends meet.
“The rail industry is a specific and defined market in its own right with distinct roles and thousands upon thousands of high-skilled professional jobs, making comparisons with a wider ‘market’ difficult.
“Rail workers perform vital safety critical and other vital functions to ensure our railways are safe. They have suffered years of real terms pay cuts and richly deserve a pay rise - even more so in the face of the growing Tory cost-of-living crisis.
“If anyone is overpaid, it is the fat cat bosses and shareholders who cream off profits and pay-outs from our public transport services. Rail should be brought into public ownership to be run in the interests of passengers and taxpayers.”