What is going on with pay in our industry? It seems that the TOCs that make up the Rail Delivery Group, under orders from the DfT, are making a standardised pay offer, something like "0% on pay and any changes to Terms and Conditions must be 'self-financing'".This raises at least a couple of questions:
1. If rail employers are moving towards standardised pay offers across the industry, why aren't the unions getting ready for national pay bargaining and a national dispute?
2. Whether or not pay bargaining goes national, why on earth would we accept an offer of nothing? How does nothing even count as an 'offer'?! How about we talk about pay rises and/or about alternatives such as improvements to Ts and Cs?
It is important that we do not accept the 'unprecedented times' excuse, and do not buy into the idea that because passenger numbers are low and the industry is in 'financial trouble' that the right thing to do is to keep quiet and accept what we're given (or in this case accept that we get nothing). The private owners do not seem to be hit by this 'financial crisis' and are certainly not giving themselves nothing!
And don't believe that if we accept no improvements in pay and conditions, then the employers won't cut our jobs. History is littered with examples of unions giving up the fight and collaborating with employers in return for being left alone, and they were never left alone for long. How many steelworks are open now and what is their future? How many Nottinghamshire mines are still producing coal?