RMT to ballot over poverty pay threat on Virgin West Coast

RMT to ballot over poverty pay threat on Virgin West Coast

28 September 2016

RMT Press Office:

RMT to ballot for action over poverty pay threat on Virgin West Coast Catering.

Rail union RMT confirmed today that it has declared a dispute and will begin balloting shortly in a pay dispute on Virgin West Coast’s catering service which it says could undermine pay of members to poverty levels at a time when the political debate is focussed on lifting wages to a genuine, living level.

The £30 million catering supply contract on Virgin West Coast is held by the giant DHL group after it was outsourced by Virgin in 2014. The contract covers supplies for catering services right the way through from London to Glasgow.

DHL have offered an increase of 1.75% effective from 1st July 2016. However, this will only be applied to members who did not receive any increase in line with the National Minimum Wage (£7.20) made effective in April 2016 – effectively trying to drag back the wages of the low paid to the absolute poverty threshold.

The offer has been considered by RMT’s National Executive Committee and it has come to the conclusion that it does nothing to meet our aspirations of a decent pay offer and is nothing like that which has been offered to directly employed Virgin West Coast staff.  Therefore the National Executive Committee has instructed a ballot of all staff affected for industrial action.

RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:
“This union will not tolerate a grinding down of pay rates to poverty thresholds on Britain’s railways at a time when the political focus is all on lifting wages to decent, living levels.  DHL are flying in the face of that and are cynically trying to abuse staff by paying the National Minimum Wage as a drag weight on wages for the low paid workforce. Furthermore, DHL’s offer does nothing to assist the overwhelming majority of their staff, who are based at Euston, to secure the London Living Wage.

“DHL and Virgin are big, household names and RMT will not let them get away with this sharp practice on wages within front line and service support roles.

“These catering staff are part of the team on the inter-city West Coast routes who slog their guts out supplying passengers, often in difficult conditions with our rammed-out and delayed trains. The very least that they deserve is pay justice.”


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Tagged with: virgin, west coast, catering, poverty pay