Rail strikes will cost industry £110m, Network Rail warns
This week’s rail strikes will cost the industry around £110m, according to Network Rail calculations.
A spokesperson for Network Rail told City A.M. that train operators will lose £20m for each day of RMT strikes whilst the train drivers’ walkout on Thursday will cost the industry around £30m.
Rail unions RMT and Aslef are on strike this week as part of a long-running dispute over salaries.
Workers at Network Rail and 14 other companies are walking out after rejecting recent pay offers, while Aslef said its train drivers had not received an improved offer in the last six months of negotiations.
Network Rail’s chief executive Andrew Haines said in a statement that the strikes were causing “needless misery and pain for our railway, for our employees and for the country’s economy.”
“I am so sorry that our passengers are having to bear the brunt of the RMT’s pointless strike when a fair offer is on the table and when only a third of the workforce have rejected it,” Haines said.
“Two of our three trade unions have already accepted and the RMT needs to think again,” he added.
Aslef declined to comment on the potential cost of the strikes whilst RMT’s general secretary Mick Lynch has previously said that the government has indemnified railway companies, sparing them “from being liable for any loss of revenue arising from the strikes.”
The Rail Delivery Group – which negotiates on behalf of train companies – said operators are paid on a performance-related fixed fee basis.
This allows train companies to make a profit margin, just like all government suppliers.
“The stark reality of the industry’s finances is that we are in a situation where revenue is at 80 per cent of pre-pandemic levels, but with 100 per cent of the costs,” a spokesperson said.
“The alternative of asking taxpayers to shoulder even more of the burden when they have already contributed £1800 per household during the pandemic, or asking passengers to fund it by paying more for their tickets, isn’t fair or sustainable. ”