Network Rail staff overpaid?

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Tomnick

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I was delighted to read, in the last issue of 'Rail' magazine, that a report has been published (by 'Incomes Data Services', commissioned by the ORR?) claiming that many Network Rail staff are overpaid compared to those in comparable roles in other industries. The figures were, from memory, 32% for maintenance staff and 36% for operations staff.

Having spent most of the morning discussing it with my colleagues, we've struggled to think of other jobs that might be used in such a comparison with the signalling grade. Any thoughts?
 
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Tomnick

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Funnily enough, that's one that we discussed. Their control room folk seem to have a fair bit in common with our grade in terms of training and responsibilities - and their pay reflects that too, I believe.
 

Tomnick

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Indeed not, they were the first to spring to mind. I do wonder whether the people making these comparisons really understand what the roles actually involve!
 

David Barrett

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Indeed not, they were the first to spring to mind. I do wonder whether the people making these comparisons really understand what the roles actually involve!

I think perhaps that they do, it's the public who will be misinformed and manipulated into a particular frame of mind by the reporting of it who don't.

It is something which rears its ugly head from time to time; fifteen years or so past our engineer was at pains to point out that our rates of pay (loco fitters) were much higher than those of car mechanics, which he thought was unfair to his wages bill.

What generally seems to be the outcome of these mind changing bites of disinformation is a load of tosh about downward equalisation of pay rates. Nobody much, and those who do get drowned out by all the hue and cry of "Bring 'em down", dares to suggest that it might be upward equalisation which is more appropriate under the circumstances.
 
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Cherry_Picker

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Divide and conquer. Turning the working classes on each other to provoke a race to the bottom.

It’s amazing how seedy scumbags (the press) can write sh*te, and demented retards (the public) suddenly go up in arms and then opportunistic slime (the politicians) jump right on the bandwagon. Such is British life.

Irvine Welsh, 2012.


All this while MPs have voted for a 32% pay rise, which they feel they deserve because they are not allowed to fiddle their expenses any more.
 
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12CSVT

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I wonder how much Incomes Data Services were paid to compile this pointless report ?
 

jopsuk

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Alternative: "non-Network Rail staff underpaid".

Other than executive pay, in general pay has been declining in real terms across the population. Perhaps Network Rail staff have managed to be insulated a little fro.m this? the trend is quite unlike what has happened coming out of any other recession
 

a good off

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Its only in the last 10-15 years that we've had any decent money! Pay back for all the years where railwaymen had to rely on overtime to make their basic pay up to what everyone else considered 'normal'...
 

beeza1

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There is one reason why rail staff are, relatively speaking, "overpaid", it has nothing to do with "responsibilities" or "perceived skill levels", it's all due to the fact that unlike many other occupations these jobs can't be "exported" to India, Eastern Europe, or the Far East, if the TOC's could outsource to somewhere cheaper, believe me they would, all these TVM's and Automatic Ticket Barriers are nothing to do with "revenue protection", they are all about reducing costs, or put another way cutting down on staff.
Like the previous poster I hold the view the rest of us are "Underpaid".
 

Welshman

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all these TVM's and Automatic Ticket Barriers are nothing to do with "revenue protection", they are all about reducing costs, or put another way cutting down on staff.
Like the previous poster I hold the view the rest of us are "Underpaid".

I'm not so sure about barriers allowing staff to be reduced. Before the barriers at my local station, there were no staff at the entrance to the platforms. Now, while the barriers are in operation, there are always at least two, assisting passengers and selling tickets, in addition to the booking-office clerk.
 

jopsuk

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Beeza1: the research is a little bit subtle than that, they are comparing Network Rail versus roads and building construction and maintenance jobs, ones that similarly can't be exported and are similar roles. But that doesn't change that the story should be underpay in other sectors.
 

Bald Rick

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Beeza1: But that doesn't change that the story should be underpay in other sectors.

As the proud grandmother said when her soldier son was marching on parade -

"look, they are all out of step except our Jonny"
 
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they may have used a Profession-free grading tool like the NHS agenda for CHange Job evaluation tool which was used to assess the grading of everyone other than Doctors , Dentists and Directors ...

that threw up a few anomolies - interestingly Estates staff were often lower graded than their market rate - and therefore got long term Recruitment and retention payments
 

Slinky

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As a Network Rail Signaller in a busy panel I think my pay is justified. We are responsible for 100 miles of tracks and basically maintaining the safety of 1000s of passengers. We don't have bells and alarms to help us decide if we need to slow down or keep going, the driver basically controls their train to the aspects we show them. Plus we work 12hrs without a break and hardly time to go toilet before a train is slowing down for a route reset.
 

ralphchadkirk

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I'm not sure signalling is comparable to air traffic control. I suspect signallers were compared against other control room operators, such as the National Grid.
 

Roverman

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Its also worth remembering NR staff get no perks or free travel passes. Factor in how much you save by not paying for your travel?

Totally agree with the 'divide and conquer'comment.

Lets compare an MPs salary......
 

Bald Rick

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Its also worth remembering NR staff get no perks or free travel passes. Factor in how much you save by not paying for your travel?

Totally agree with the 'divide and conquer'comment.

Lets compare an MPs salary......

I know a quite a few signallers who get paid more per year than MPs (before expenses).
 

David Barrett

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I know a quite a few signallers who get paid more per year than MPs (before expenses).

I see nothing wrong there, in my consideration when it comes to useful members of society MPs are pretty much off the horizon, the important people being the likes of those under discussion here along with nurses, bin men, firemen and a host of other battered, undervalued and good, genuine human beings without whom life would be miserable but have in spite of their importance become cannon fodder at the hands of the politicos over the years in oirder to achieve idealistic and malign objectives of dubious benifit.
 
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Bald Rick

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I'm not sure signalling is comparable to air traffic control. I suspect signallers were compared against other control room operators, such as the National Grid.

Indeed, in normal operation ATC has somewhat less in the way of automatic safeguards to prevent the execution of an error than a signalbox. Although the ATC pay isn't that much more, indeed it is rather less during the training period.

I know which job I would rather do.
 

Pumbaa

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Generally, as an organisation, ops staff are underpaid and undervalued, manglement and puffers abound. Much like any large organisation really.
 

Darren R

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All this while MPs have voted for a 32% pay rise, which they feel they deserve because they are not allowed to fiddle their expenses any more.

Not necessarily defending MPs here but that is factually incorrect - MPs have not voted on their prospective pay rise, nor do they get any chance to do so. They have no say in the matter whatsoever - and rightly so. Personally though I'd have have 'em on minimum wage!

In terms of the matter at hand though - two questions:
1: who commissioned this report?
2: to what end?

The exact nature of the comparison chosen will be dependent on the answers. Either way, any properly conducted research will explain exactly what the comparisons used were. Any report that doesn't just can't be trusted.

And as for the worth of the Bobbies themselves - well the next time I'm on a train travelling at 125mph down the WCML only a couple of minutes behind another I'd prefer to think that the guys at the panels and consoles are well-trained, well-paid and well-rested! I'd rather it wasn't some spotty 16 yr old on minimum wage whose training consisted of a couple of hours on SimSig!
 

Tomnick

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Thanks for the comments, everyone. Sadly the race to the bottom appears to be alive and well in many industries, and I'd rather not see it in our industry - where the standards of selection, training and assessment are generally necessarily high (but how could you maintain that if you were no longer attracting the right people?). The report appears to have been commissioned by the ORR as part of their processes for allocating NR's funding for the next control period - no doubt with an eye on cost savings.

As with other jobs on the railway (and elsewhere), our pay reflects our level of training, the amount of knowledge required (80% of which we probably use 20% of the time) and our ability to safely deal with those stressful times when a lot of multitasking and prioritisation is required. That's what makes me wonder what we've been compared to - it's difficult to accurately judge the role without a fair bit of knowledge of what can be involved - and, for 80% or more of the time, the actual workload often doesn't reflect that.
 

Monty

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I know we are talking about signallers at the moment, but not everyone who works for Network Rail is one. For instance in my opinion some of the salaries and bonuses the execs get are outright outrageous. Yet on the other end of the scale I would say junior p-way crew get paid considerably low considering what they do and the risks involved.
 
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