Train drivers’ whopping pay as 50,000 workers set for rail strike walkout
Thousands of commuters will struggle to travel to work or other events thanks to the national rail strike this week.
The Royal Maritime and Transport union (RMT) are a major union walking out of work thanks to what they describe as "pay freezes, threats to jobs and attacks on their terms and conditions".
Last-minute talks to avoid a strike look are set to fail and RMT workers will walk out on June 21, 23 and 25. Other strikes by different unions are also set to take place in separate disputes.
It is one of the biggest strikes for decades. So why are workers striking and how much do they earn already?
How much do train drivers earn?
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As skilled workers, train drivers can earn over £50,000 per year, according to Glassdoor, and this depends on what the various train companies are willing to pay.
The National Careers Service say that a starter typically earns £24,000 a year and experienced drivers earn up to £65,0000 every year.
Their pay is higher than that of nurses and teachers, leading some to question why they are striking as these two vital groups are not set for their own pay rise despite the cost of living crisis.
However, people in different professions have different unions representing them, and it is up to them if they want to carry out strikes of their own.
Two major teaching unions have threatened strike action and reports by the Mail say around half a million NHS workers could also walk out this year.
RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: "There are going to be many unions balloting across the country, because people can't take it anymore."
Why are train drivers striking?
Train drivers and Network Rail workers are after a pay rise thanks to the cost of living crisis, which has seen inflation soar, as well as for other reasons like pension disputes.
With inflation up by 9% already, the Bank of England expects this to rise to 11%. This impacts the cost of everyday items like food and other supplies. Petrol prices have also skyrocketed to record highs.
RMT say a "savage" of the Railway Pension Scheme, job cuts and "below RPI inflation pay proposals" are the reasons behind the strike.
It isn't just train drivers striking; roughly 50,000 people are set to strike across Network Rail on the first day of the walkout. This includes anyone from drivers to cleaners, signallers and maintenance workers.
Some trains will be running, but only at a limited capacity, meaning they could be crowded or very difficult to get on at all.
On the strike days, only around 4,500 of the normal 20,000 services will be operated by workers across Network Rail who have not walked out.
The government's Department for Transport (DfT) said: "Train travel for millions more people is now a choice, not a necessity. Strikes stop our customers choosing rail, and they might never return."
Strikes by members of the Aslef union will be across June 23 and July 2 on Greater Anglia. Croydon Tramlink will see strikes on July 13 and 14.
London Underground strikes are scheduled for June 21.
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