Network Rail staff to vote on RMT strike action
Thousands of Network Rail staff are to be balloted on industrial action over a pay dispute, the Rail, Maritime and Transport union has said.
The RMT said about 16,000 staff would vote on whether to strike, after talks with Network Rail bosses broke down.
RMT general secretary Mick Cash said the offer of a one-off £500 payment to staff was "wholly inadequate".
Network Rail said its offer, including future rises, was a "significant improvement" on previous pay offers.
Talks had been held at the conciliation service Acas - but an RMT statement said the breakdown had left it with "no alternative" but to move to a national industrial action vote.
Union bosses rejected the offer of a "non-consolidated lump sum payment" of £500 this year, followed by three years of rises in line with inflation.
It comes after an earlier offer was rejected by 93% of members in a 56% turnout, the RMT said.
"Despite intensive talks we have not been able to secure enough significant movement and that puts us into dispute and triggers the start of a national industrial action ballot," Mr Cash said.
"As far as we are concerned the one off, non-consolidated, lump-sum payment this year is wholly inadequate and fails to recognise the massive pressures staff are working under to keep services running at a time when the company is generating profits of £1bn."
Network Rail managing director Phil Hufton said the company's offer was fair "given our financial pressures".
The pay proposal would provide long-term employment opportunities by guaranteeing an extension to a no compulsory redundancy agreement, he said.
"Pay awards at Network Rail over the last four years have been well ahead of the rest of the country," he said.
"Pay has increased eight times more than workers in the public sector - such as teachers and nurses - and double the pay for private sector workers.
"We remain open to talks with the RMT."
Network Rail owns and maintains most of Britain's railway infrastructure, as well as stations including Kings Cross, Paddington and Victoria in London, Manchester Piccadilly and Edinburgh Waverley.