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Prepare strikes: These are the international locations that pay practice drivers probably the most and the least in Europe

Tens of hundreds of rail staff within the UK went on strike final week calling for elevated pay and higher working situations. This has created chaos for folks planning to journey earlier than Christmas. practice Strikes will proceed into January 2023.

In Europe, the UK isn’t the one nation during which rail staff went on strike in 2022. Industrial actions have taken place not too long ago in EU international locations similar to France, Austria, the Netherlands and Italy, and they’re anticipated to proceed.

Within the EU, the annual inflation charge was 11.5 per cent in October 2022, reaching ranges not seen earlier than because the early Nineteen Eighties. Industrial actions have triggered discussions concerning the wages of rail staff, together with practice drivers. So which international locations pay practice drivers probably the most and the least in Europe? And the way have rail staff’ salaries modified within the UK?

Eurostat, the statistical workplace of the EU, provides perception. Based mostly on estimates collected by the EU Construction of Earnings Survey (SES), it supplies an summary of railway sector wages utilizing knowledge from 2021.

Because the Eurostat dataset doesn’t embody the UK, Euronews Journey has taken knowledge from the UK’s Workplace for Nationwide Statistics (ONS) for comparability. Subsequently, there may be methodological variations between the information for EU Member States and the UK. The calculations of salaries are defined under in additional element.

In 2021, the estimated common gross month-to-month earnings of practice drivers ranged from €632 in Bulgaria to €5,542 within the UK. Amongst EU Member States, Denmark (€4,463) was the one nation the place practice drivers earned greater than €4,000. They have been paid greater than €3,000 in Eire, Luxembourg, Germany and France. These international locations have been intently adopted by the Netherlands (€2,947) and Finland (€2,939).

In 16 EU Member States, practice drivers obtained common gross month-to-month earnings of lower than €2,000 in 2021. After Bulgaria, romania (€901) and Hungary (€922) had the bottom salaries.

How do practice driver salaries evaluate when adjusted for residing prices?

Variations within the earnings of practice drivers are significantly smaller when adjusted for residing prices.

Buying energy customary (PPS) is ‘a man-made foreign money unit’ outlined by Eurostat based mostly on worth degree variations between international locations. One unit of PPS can theoretically purchase the identical quantity of products and providers in each nation.

The typical gross month-to-month earnings of practice drivers as adjusted for PPS ranged from €1,206 in Bulgaria to €4,392 within the UK in 2021. They have been above €2,500 in Denmark, Germany and France.

A more in-depth take a look at practice driver wages within the UK

Because the ONS supplies a extra detailed dataset, it is doable to look extra intently on the earnings of not solely practice drivers but in addition different rail staff within the UK. The info additionally reveals how rail staff’ salaries have modified within the final decade.

In 2021, the median gross annual pay of practice and tram drivers was £59,031 (€68,673) within the UK, up from £42,484 (€48,951) in 2011. This can be a 39 per cent improve in nominal phrases, that means inflation isn’t taken under consideration.

Between 2011 and 2021, the median gross annual wage of rail transport operatives elevated from £34,816 (€40,116) to £47,993 (€55,832) – an increase of 38 per cent.

The change in median gross annual pay between 2011 and 2021 was significantly smaller for rail journey assistants and rail development and upkeep operatives in comparison with drivers. The pay of rail journey assistants rose from £29,914 (€34,468) to £33,203 (€38,626). In different phrases, it solely elevated by 11 per cent nominally.

Equally, the pay of rail development and upkeep operatives rose by solely 14 per cent. In 2021, their common wage was £34,953 (€40,622).

How do practice driver wages evaluate to nurses’ wages within the UK?

On 11 July 2022, Grant Shapps, who was then serving as Secretary of State for Transport, tweeted, “Unions linked to Labor have introduced practice driver strikes. On a wage of just about £60,000, it is not truthful for practice drivers to harm these on decrease wages with extra walkouts.”

In Parliament on June 15 of this yr, Shapps mentioned: “The median wage for a practice driver is £59,000, in contrast with £31,000 for a nurse and £21,000 for a care employee.”

In 2021, the median gross annual pay for specialist nurses was £33,946 (€39,490) and that of nurse practitioners was £36,818 (€42,832) in accordance with the ONS. Whereas the UK was not within the prime 5 for nurses’ salaries in Europe, UK practice Drivers are paid considerably greater than drivers within the EU Member States.

Gender pay gaps amongst practice drivers

The figures additionally reveal that gender pay gaps exist amongst practice drivers. Males earn greater than girls in most international locations. In 2021, the estimated common gross hourly earnings of feminine practice drivers have been greater than these of male drivers in solely the UK and Luxembourg. They have been equal in Belgium, Eire, Cyprus and Lithuania. In all different international locations thought of right here, male practice drivers have been paid greater than feminine drivers.

How are these practice driver salaries calculated and who do they embody?

The figures supplied by Eurostat symbolize the earnings of ‘locomotive-engine drivers’. These folks drive, or help in driving, locomotive engines to move passengers and freight. They embody drivers of trains, locomotives, the undergroundand engines or mines.

The estimated common gross month-to-month earnings reported by Eurostat are based mostly on 40 hours of full-time work per week with an indefinite contract length for male staff who’re 35 years outdated with lower-level tertiary schooling (bachelor diploma or greater vocational coaching).

The UK knowledge mirror common pay in comparison with EU Member States for ‘practice and tram drivers’ as outlined by the ONS.

Why are rail staff hanging within the UK?

UK rail staff have emphasised that the strikes aren’t nearly pay.

Prepare drivers are hanging in solidarity with different rail staff, whose pay has been frozen for the previous three years. Pay provides thus far haven’t been according to inflation.

They’re additionally protesting varied adjustments proposed by Community Rail, together with slicing upkeep, bringing in driver-only operation, closing reserving places of work, and imposing unsociable working hours.


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