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Crossrail and Aslef partnership ‘pioneer in union relations’

The working partnership between MTR Crossrail and trade union Aslef has been recognised in a case study by the Involvement and Participation Association (IPA).

The case study highlights the working relationships that have been developed and sustained by the two organisations over the last few years.

IPA calls the relationship an “inspiring example” of working together to achieve mutual gains, and of demonstrating respect for each other’s views and trusting each other’s good intentions.

Underpinning the relationship is a “real commitment” for MTR Crossrail to engage union representatives and employees in strategic decision making, and a “collective bargaining procedure” that has involved working together in detail on recruitment, pay and conditions, rostering and timetabling.

IPA said that working together has ensured that unions and employees are aware of the strategic challenges faced by the company, which are discussed together and joint solutions found.

One manager interviewed by IPA explained: “We trust our drivers with millions of pounds of equipment and people’s lives – why shouldn’t we trust them to improve our ways of working.”

MTR Crossrail managing director, Steve Murphy, who has actively promoted this new way of working with trade unions for the mutual benefit of all those involved, welcomed the publication of the case study.

“At the heart of achieving improvements to the railway is an understanding of the role that we have as the managers and directors of the company and the role that the trade unions have as representatives of their members, our employees,” he said.

He argued that the strong bonds created with union partners has made MTR Crossrail a “pioneer in union relations” for the industry.

General secretary of Aslef, Mick Whelan, added: “Aslef believes in and supports any business with a collaborative vision, and we’ve worked alongside MTR Crossrail to create a strategic narrative.

“Our partnership working is going well and we need to keep it that way to help ensure a great service for passengers and a bright future for our members.”

Lord Monks of Blackley, president of IPA, said that the partnership is bringing the benefits of the new Elizabeth Line to life.

“It re-affirms my long held belief that mutual gains accrue to employers and employees if trade unions and managers establish relationships of trust, identify their common interests, and set up architecture to work through policies, practices and to deal with the challenges and disagreements that will inevitably arise,” he concluded.


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