Ahead of talks with train operators on Thursday, rail union TSSA reveals that these companies spent tens of thousands of pounds in strike breaking pay and putting staff up in five-star hotels during last week's industrial action.
Manuel Cortes, TSSA General Secretary, will be attending talks aimed at resolving issues of pay, job security and terms and conditions as the union is set to receive ballot results from multiple rail employers over the next week.
It has emerged that train operators paid out up to £475 a night for hotel rooms to put staff up and paid an additional £200 a day to staff working on strike days last week, and £250 on the weekend. A video emerged before last week's action revealing Network Rail senior management offering double pay and extra holiday to people to work on strike days. These bribes and strike-breaking costs will have run into tens if not hundreds of thousands of pounds.
Ahead of the talks, Cortes said: "Instead of spending time, money and effort bribing staff to work on strike days, employers should be putting time, money and effort into resolving this dispute.
"It's frankly outrageous that train operators and Network Rail spent tens of thousands of pounds bribing people to work on strike days last week and thousands more in swanky hotel bills. If they were serious about avoiding strike action, then they would stop this inflammatory behaviour and instead concentrate on finding a solution to the concerns of rail workers across the country.
"The amount spent on just one person last week is almost two months' pay for the lowest paid rail workers. It's a disgusting insult to use money in this way when people are facing a cost-of-living crisis. Even with these incentives, many staff refused to accept bribes to undermine their striking colleagues.”
Details have emerged that rail operator Southeastern paid out £200 a day - £250 on the weekend – to certain staff working on strike days last week and also paid out for hotel rooms at a cost of up to £475 a night. Similar arrangements were reported at other train operators. Network Rail offered double pay and extra holiday. Despite this, many staff refused to take the money to undermine striking colleagues.
TSSA is seeking a pay rise for members - many of whom have had no pay rise for three years - as well as job security guarantees in the face of the cost-of-living crisis and rising bills.
TSSA is balloting members in Avanti West Coast; Cross Country; East Midlands Railway; West Midlands Trains; Network Rail; LNER; Northern; c2c; Southeastern; Great Western Railway; TransPennine Express; Greater Anglia.