Kent transport

How much do railway workers earn before planned train strikes

A number of allegations were made regarding railway workers’ pay ahead of the planned industrial action. Members of the RMT union plan to strike on June 21, 23 and 25 over wages and layoffs.

The union represents over 40,000 employees at Network Rail and 13 different rail companies. There was even a debate in the House of Commons about upcoming strikes.

While discussions have rumbled about the salary of railway workers, various figures have been cited when discussing how much they earn. So what is their real payroll?

How much do train drivers get paid?

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps responded to Jeremy Corbyn’s claims that drivers were underpaid by saying their median salary was £59,000. He said: “The median salary for a train driver is £59,000, compared to £31,000 for a nurse and £21,000 for a carer.”

The median, as an average number, takes all workers and selects the middle one as the representative example. And the BBC reports Mr Shapps would be right, according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics.

The median train and tram driver in 2021 was £59,189. While nurses received £31,039.

The Transport Secretary was a bit off his numbers for social workers, however. The median there would be £16,502, with a senior care worker earning £20,105.

What is the median salary of railway workers?

A problem with using the median salary for railway workers, according to the BBC, is that drivers are represented by their own union, Aslef, which claims to cover 96% of drivers. A majority of the remaining 4% would not be unionized.

Aslef is not part of the national strike. Despite having their own actions, Greater Anglia drivers going on strike on June 23 – a strike on Hull Trains has been called off.

Mr Shapps said: ‘The median salary in the rail sector is £44,000, which is significantly higher than the median salary in the country.

The BBC says Mr Shapps’ department took median figures from ONS categories for four types of workers. This includes train travel assistants, such as ticket collectors, guards and information staff, who earn £33,310.

In addition to railway construction and maintenance workers who earn £34,998, transport workers, such as flagmen and assistants who earn £48,750, and train drivers, who earn £59,189. He added them up and divided them by four to get an average.

This means that his figure is no longer a median. This means the median could be higher or lower than the quoted £44,000.

That being said, the median for all UK employees last year was £25,971. This means that railway workers are likely to be higher.

RMT claims of £33,000

The RMT says the figures are too high because train and tram drivers are members of a different union. He also says he would not count workers as cleaners, who are not officially counted as railway workers.

The union says if you look at the median of £44,000 and remove the drivers and include cleaning staff instead, that comes down to a figure of £33,000. According to her, this better reflects the average salary of the workers who will be on strike.

The BBC did its own calculation and reflected the number of people in each of the groups used by the government, but excluded drivers. It says the approximate median was £37,500. He says he is approaching the RMT to find out how he reached £33,000.