Congress notes with some concern that on 14 August the Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling, wrote to trade unions and the rail employers’ body, the Rail Delivery Group (RDG), asking employers to introduce CPI as opposed to RPI as the inflation measure for future pay deals.
Congress further notes the RDG as well as Network Rail is comprised of private sector rail employers who make massive profits out of railway privatisation. Congress notes CPI is consistently lower than RPI and does not include many important costs incurred by workers, such as housing costs.
Congress views this as a potential declaration of hostilities on rail workers who have long since grown accustomed to RPI being used as the accepted benchmark when their earnings are reviewed. Not content with hammering the standard of living of passengers, Chris Grayling wants to also hammer rail workers so the government can protect the massive profits and pay rises of rail bosses.
Rail unions will rightly resist and fight any attempts to attack the living standards of their members and widespread industrial action across the rail network is inevitable.
Congress notes the TUC’s analysis shows that:
- Since 2008 rail fares have risen by 42 per cent whist average weekly pay has grown by only 18 per cent.
- Private train operators paid at least £165m in dividends to their shareholders last year, at a time when overall taxpayer subsidy to the rail industry reached £3.5bn.
Congress is also appalled that as many rail contracts allow for the private rail firms to be reimbursed for revenues lost as a result of the industrial action, Chris Grayling is using public money to bankroll private employers in his war against rail workers. Congress notes the ever-worsening chaos around the rail industry under ‘Failing Grayling’ and views with contempt his shameful attempt to link inflation-busting rail fare increases for underperforming services directly to the earnings of rail workers.
Congress will not allow rail workers to be used as cannon fodder in the face of ministerial incompetence and private greed. Congress condemns the Secretary of State’s letter and commits the General Council to support the rail unions in resisting the proposals and any attempt by industry employers to move from RPI to CPI as the accepted benchmark for future pay negotiations.
Mover: National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers
Seconder: Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association