Rail managers paid extra £50 an hour to break strikes

strike action on christmas
strike action on christmas

Strike-breaking rail managers were paid £50 an hour on top of their salaries to work on the front line during walkouts over Christmas, leaked documents show.

Salaried workers could get as much as £6,500 in extra pay if they swapped the office for shifts on trains on strike days between Dec 19 and Jan 3.

An additional £500 per day was paid to employees serving as a "safety critical contingency manager", according to a leaked schedule – equal to £50 an hour for a ten-hour stint.

Workers fulfilling the role of "customer service contingency manager" – deemed non-safety critical – were given £300 per shift.

Although the Government insisted it was up to train operators to make decisions on employee compensation, industry sources said that the payments were signed off by Department for Transport officials.

Industry sources said that some staff did as many as 13 safety critical shifts on the frontline – meaning £6,500 in extra pay.

The leaked document comes as train companies rip up an 8pc pay rise offered to train drivers and restart negotiations from scratch.

Representatives from the Rail Industry Recovery Group, a body of operators which is backed by the Government, will open talks with drivers' union Aslef on Tuesday afternoon

Talks will begin with a clean slate, sources said, while the fresh start also allows operators and the Government to abandon demands that on-board guards are axed as part of any deal.

Meanwhile, the Rail, Maritime and Transport workers union (RMT) continues to weigh a “best and final” 9pc rise offered by both train operators and Network Rail, the state-backed owner of tracks, points and stations.

Huw Merriman, rail minister, pleaded with the RMT leadership to put the pay deals to a ballot of their members.

Writing in The Sun, he said: “The railway itself risks withering on the vine, unable to make the changes it needs to grow and losing the faith of a generation of rail passengers.”

“Put the latest offers to your members, encourage them to accept.”

News of bonus payments for strike-breaking managers angered grassroots campaigners, however. The Taxpayers Alliance has estimated rail subsidies have cost £42bn since the start of the pandemic.

James Roberts, managing director at the lobby group, said: "Taxpayers are pouring money into Britain's broken railways.
"Generous pay deals and excessive bonus packages are being paid for by soaring public subsidies, which run well into the tens of billions of pounds.”

A spokesman for the Department for Transport said: “Following fair and reasonable deals being put to unions by operators we hope that these damaging strikes will soon end.”