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TRANSPORT Secretary Chris Grayling was accused of “rank hypocrisy” by the RMT union today for rewarding a former boss of collapsed outsourcing company Carillion with a top-paying job on the HS2 project.
Former Carillion managing director Mark Davies has been appointed as the managing director for the HS2 joint venture between Balfour Beatty and VINCI.
He was at the centre of Carillion’s collapse in January.
Mr Davies joined the firm in 2008, rising to be managing director of its infrastructure business until the whole company went bust with liabilities of £7 billion.
Transport union RMT said that this shows how the “managerial elite” pick up huge pay packets regardless of their track record, while ordinary rail workers have to fight for fair wages.
Thousands of Carillion staff and those in the supply chain lost their jobs and were “caught in the crossfire of the management incompetence,” it added.
General secretary Mick Cash said: “One minute Chris Grayling is lining up an attack on front-line rail workers through his pay cap and the next he is sitting back while the managerial merry-go-round at the top of the industry is rewarding those who have wrecked lives and proved themselves wholly incompetent with fat salaries on prestige projects.
“The hypocrisy of Grayling on top bosses pay is breathtaking, but, as the ultimate specialist in failure himself who has clung onto his ministerial pay, perks and car despite reducing the railways to chaos, he would know all about rewarding rank incompetence on an industrial scale.
“If Grayling seriously thinks that front-line rail workers are going to take the hit to protect company profits, shareholders dividends and top bosses’ pay, then he needs to think again. RMT will fight any attempt to impose a pay cap on our members.”
The high-speed rail project, one of the world’s largest, has billions of pounds worth of contracts put up for the first phase between West Midlands and London.
Work on HS2’s £6.6bn construction is now expected to get under way seven months later than originally planned.
Mr Grayling has also mooted capping pay settlements for railway workers to protect train-operating companies’ profits.
On Tuesday, he said he believes “it is important” that future pay agreements are based on the lower Consumer Price Index (CPI) measure of inflation rather than the Retail Price Index (RPI), claiming that this would keep train fares down.
The RPI is used by unions for wage negotiations, but Mr Grayling has written to four rail unions to ask them to switch to the CPI, which was 1 per cent lower than the RPI in June.
On Wednesday, it was revealed that rail fares will increase by 3.2 per cent in January, on top of a 3.6 per cent rise the year before.
Train drivers’ union Aslef general secretary Mick Whelan has called Mr Grayling “disingenuous,” pointing out that just under 25 per cent of train operators’ costs are attributable to staff wages.
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