Latest Rail News

08.05.12

East Midlands Trains condemns ‘strike over nothing’

A revised timetable is in operation on East Midlands Trains services again today due to strike action over pensions changes by Aslef, which it is repeating on Thursday, when talks are planned.

A full and normal service will operate tomorrow (Wednesday) and Friday, but two more stoppages are planned next week, unless progress is made at Thursday’s talks.

Clare McCartney, HR director for East Midlands Trains (EMT), said: “This is a strike over nothing. The average driver will lose around £1,200 in pay by following Aslef’s misguided call for six days of strike action. We do not believe it is right to force drivers to pay £500 a year more in pension contributions than independent experts and the scheme’s trustees say is needed.”

The operator says that the ‘temporary additional payments’ were required to clear the deficit in the pension scheme, that it has paid its agreed share plus an extra £130,000 contributions, and that extra payments are no longer required. Aslef says that EMT’s proposed reduction of its payments into the scheme threatens its members’ pensions in the long term.

But McCartney said: “We have a strong track record of properly funding the pensions of our employees and we will continue to do so. When additional contributions were required in recent years, we paid our share and more. We are happy to reassure Aslef that there will be no changes to drivers’ pension benefits and proper safeguards are in place for our people and their pensions.”

At Thursday’s negotiations, the union will be represented by its general secretary Mick Whelan, president Alan Donnelly, and Dicky Fisher, responsible for the union’s relationship with EMT.

The operator promised more services today and on Thursday compared to the first two days of industrial action, on May 1 and 3. Other operators will be accepting EMT tickets, but many passengers still face the prospect of replacement buses.
Information on disrupted services, and suggested alternatives, can be found at www.eastmidlandstrains.co.uk.

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