Olympic disruption imminent on railways
The threat of industrial action during the Olympics looms large, after South West Trains staff voted in favour of taking action short of a strike, and Aslef has named two strike dates in August.
The RMT union balloted members working at SWT over a pay deal for the Olympics, which begins a week today. Staff voted against a strike, but for industrial action short of a strike. Further details are expected to be released today.
Tim Shoveller, managing director of South West Trains, welcomed the news that employees voted against a strike during the Games. He said: “This means we can deliver our full Olympic train service and ensure our passengers can enjoy the excitement of London 2012, a once in a lifetime experience, without the threat of a strike.”
However he added: “It’s very disappointing that the RMT has been trying to go back on this deal and cause disruption at such an important time for our customers and our country.”
Yesterday train drivers union Aslef announced new strike dates in their ongoing dispute with East Midlands Trains (EMT) over pensions payments. The action will take place on 6-8 August, two days before planned talks aimed to resolve the dispute.
EMT revealed in June that it would be changing the staff pension scheme, reducing contributions from both the company and workers. The operator states that this will save drivers money and will not affect their final pension.
Aslef general secretary Mick Whelan said: “To cut pension contributions in the current climate is highly irresponsible.
“Also, any suggestion that drivers would save money ignores the fact that the pension scheme is split 60/40 between the employer and the employee – so if our members are saving £500, the company is saving £750. In total that’s £1,250 a year less going into the fund per active member.
“This is simply storing up trouble for the next valuation and the future of the scheme. It is disingenuous to suggest our members are getting something for nothing.”
But David Horne, managing director of EMT, accused the union of “playing games” and called the strike announcements “a real kick in the teeth for our customers and the country”.
He added: “We’re particularly surprised that Aslef has announced further strike dates, rather than putting the offer that was accepted in principle back in June to their members for consideration.”
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