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Rail union threatens strike over pay dispute

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Rail passengers face possible disruption after strike action was threatened over a pay dispute.
The RMT union is planning to ballot members over action after accusing East Midlands Trains of “dragging its heels on a fair settlement for this year despite the board room being awash with cash”.
The train operator said their pay offer to staff had been “reasonable and fair” and talks were continuing.
East Midlands Trains runs mainline services between Market Harborough, Leicester, Loughborough and East Midlands Airport, connecting the county with Sheffield in the north and with London .
RMT general secretary Mick Cash said members would be asked about going on strike if pay talks didn’t go in their favour later this month.
The union said EMT staff should have had a pay rise in April, but it has been delayed after the union branded a 2.7 per cent rise for the year as “totally inadequate” and “well below the industry average”.

It also said there were “strings attached” to the offer which was below the RPI rate of inflation at 3.6 per cent, which it said was used to decide fair increases.
It said the business made £31 million in its last financial year, with £10 million going to shareholders.
It also said the highest paid company director had seen their earnings rise 41.5 per cent over five years to £290,000.
It said staff wages increased by 15.1 per cent over that time.
Mr Cash said: “All of the financial returns prove conclusively that East Midlands Trains is a company awash with cash.
“In these circumstances it is simply incredible that the company should seek to undermine and attack the pay and living standards of their own staff.
“RMT members have two choices. We can accept that the company, despite having made massive profits, can dish out a de facto wage cut .
“Or we stand firm and demand recognition for the fact that it is our members who generate the company profits and we can fight to secure a fair pay rise for EMT staff which offers dignity and respect.
“We choose to fight for pay justice.
“To this end RMT has begun preparations for a ballot for both strike action and action short of a strike if we are forced to go into dispute with the company after September 19 when pay talks will resume.
“The ball is now in East Midlands Trains court and they can settle this matter in the next round of talks by coming forwards with a fresh offer that recognises the hard work of their staff and which protects and enhances their standard of living.”
An East Midlands Trains spokesperson said: “Positive talks have taken place with local union reps and we have made a reasonable and fair pay offer.
“We will continue to listen as the planned talks progress with the RMT.”
Source: Murcury