The union boss at the centre of a three-pronged attack on Britain’s commuters and holidaymakers earned £137,344 last year, outraging MPs and grassroots campaigners.
RMT general secretary Mick Cash received a near seven per cent increase in salary and pension in 2015, at £8,900, for leading Britain’s 15th largest trade union. By comparison, Len McCluskey, the leader of Unite – Britain’s largest trade union which serves more than 1.4m members – received total pay of £95,962 in 2015.
“I am astonished that a trade union leader gets a salary well in excess of an MP. But then he is negotiating on behalf of drivers that are very well remunerated,” said Crispin Blunt MP, whose Reigate constituency has been affected by the industrial action.
“Taxpayers will be staggered by the hypocrisy of union bosses who, while playing at being class warriors, lead strikes which disrupt the lives of millions of people while pocketing telephone-number salaries,” said Jonathan Isaby of the TaxPayers’ Alliance.
Of the £137,344 total, £96,766 is gross salary and £29,330 is pension contributions; the remainder is national insurance. An RMT spokesman said: “In 2014 [his salary] amounted £90,639. Over that period Mick Cash was elected as general secretary from the post of assistant general secretary and his salary increased to the rate of general secretary as a consequence, which accounts for the increase noted.”
RMT members of the Southern rail network have been striking in a long dispute over the changing role of guards. A five-day strike which started on Monday has been suspended as both sides resume talks.
Yesterday, the union revealed that it would be downing tools on Eurostar services after a ballot of just 55 workers. The first walkout on the cross-Channel service, over staff complaints about their work-life balance, will start this weekend. On Tuesday, the RMT said that staff at Virgin East Coast Mainline had voted in favour of a strike.
Chris Grayling, secretary of state for transport, condemned the RMT’s actions. He said: “I am very disappointed that the union keeps on calling strike action over what always appears to be pretty minor matters, nothing to do with passengers. It is not to do with jobs because nobody is cutting jobs and no one is cutting pay. This feels like an excuse to be militant.”
Business group London First has said the union risks becoming “public enemy number one”. Cash was caught out during a Sky News interview yesterday when asked how many members had been balloted on the Eurostar ballot. He said he did not know as he had been too absorbed in the Southern dispute.