Some striking train drivers ‘earn over £100,000’, rail sources say
Some striking train drivers ‘earn over £100,000’, rail sources say, as Transport Secretary Grant Shapps insists railway workers already have ‘generous wages’
- Transport Secretary Grant Shapps says railway workers have ‘generous salaries’
- More than 40,000 railway workers will strike next week, causing misery for travelers
- Rail industry sources say some drivers earn over £100,000 with overtime
Striking railway workers were yesterday accused of demanding pay rises ‘at the point of a gun’ when some drivers were already earning more than £100,000 a year.
Ahead of further shutdowns this week, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps angrily insisted that drivers and other railway workers already had ‘generous wages…paid by the public’.
But union leaders were ready to “punish commuters” and fuel inflation by demanding even more, he added.
Mr Shapps said: ‘And who is going to pay these pay rises demanded at the point of a gun?’ The weary taxpayer who has already pumped in £16billion of bailout money during the pandemic to scoff at already?
The condemnation came from rail industry sources claiming some drivers were already earning over £100,000 a year after overtime. However, train drivers’ union ASLEF disputed that claim last night, with an insider saying that across all train operating companies ‘I don’t know anyone who earns that figure’.
Figures have already shown that a fifth of train and tram drivers earn £70,000 or more.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has insisted railway workers have generous wages as thousands plan to strike next week over pay
RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said his union’s demand for better pay had received a positive response from the public.
ASLEF members working for seven companies – including Greater Anglia, West Midlands Trains and Southeastern – will go on strike next Saturday over claims they have failed to make wage offers to help staff keep pace with the rising cost of living.
Separately, 40,000 members of the RMT union – which represents a range of workers from train guards and flagmen to catering staff and cleaners – are due to go on an all-day strike this Wednesday in an ongoing pay dispute with Network Rail.
Ministers are expected to launch a consultation this autumn on draft legislation to limit the effect of future strikes.
The move would fulfill a 2019 Tory manifesto commitment to “demand that a minimum service operate during transport strikes” – with the aim that members of the public who depend on the railways as their primary mode of transport are not totally cut off from work, school or vital medical appointments.
Mr Shapps slammed the threat of further strikes last night, saying: ‘The RMT and ASLEF want the public to think it’s all about pay, and if only they can get a pay rise that fuels inflation , everything can return to the status quo. ‘
Mr Lynch said the union would continue to bargain in good faith ‘but will not be intimidated or cajoled by anyone’
But that status quo was an industry that, due to Covid, “has lost a huge chunk of its customers and is dependent on massive public subsidies to keep it alive”, he added.
It was also an industry with “sometimes senseless labor practices” and where “union-inspired disputes are an almost daily occurrence”, Mr Shapps said. The Transport Secretary has accused ASLEF and the RMT of punishing commuters and sports fans traveling to the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham this week
Mr Shapps also hit out at the RMT’s top general secretary, Mick Lynch, accusing him of “media antics”.
However, Mr Lynch told the BBC last week that his union’s demand for better pay and conditions was “getting an overwhelming response in favour” from the public.
Mr Lynch added: ‘I think there is a sea change in the British public as to what it is in the world of work, the vulnerability that people are suffering now.’
An RMT spokesperson said: “Strikes are always a last resort and we are only hitting companies that have not given their staff a pay rise since 2019.”