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24.09.14

EMT maintenance staff gear up for second pay strike

Unite has called on its train maintenance members at East Midlands Trains (EMT) to take industrial action over pay, after failing to reach an agreement with management. 

The action, which is expected to take place from 06.00 on Sunday 28 September to 05.59 on Saturday 4 October, follows on from strikes taken by the staff in July. 

Back in July, more than 80 engineering and maintenance staff members in Derby, Leeds and Nottingham took action after being offered a 2.5% pay increase in June, which was increased to an offer of 2.75% in July. Unite added that a continuous overtime ban has been place since Sunday 27 July 2014.

 

The same offer was accepted by customer service staff at the end of July, but Unite members pressed ahead with the four days of strike action – despite being advised by EMT that it would result in the 2.75% pay offer being withdrawn. 

At the time, Unite regional officer Mick Millichamp said: “Our members have worked hard for this company adapting to the many changes asked of them. However, they were very disappointed with the current paltry pay offer, now withdrawn, at a time when household bills are going through the roof. 

“The management has not applied equal treatment to this group of workers as other groups of employees have received greater improvements to their terms and conditions.” 

In response to the latest strike action, EMT has pledged to continue running as many services as possible for passengers despite the “inconsiderate strike action”, which it says is set to cost employees around £2,000 each in lost wages. 

RTM was told that further talks are to be held between the union and management, ahead of the strike action, on Friday 26 September. Unite regional officer Kevin Hepworth said: “Unite will enter Friday’s talks with the aim of settling this long running dispute in the best interests of our members. Many working people can relate to feeling undervalued at work, these members have collectively agreed to take a stand and their union fully supports them.” 

 

He added that strike action is never taken lightly, and welcomes Friday’s talks with management and will work hard to secure a fair and equitable pay deal for our members.

 

Clare Burles, human resources director for EMT, said: "Unite's planned action is completely unnecessary. It clearly has no thought for the impact on employees' families of losing thousands of pounds in lost wages, particularly a few months before the run up to Christmas. 

“The union action is particularly irresponsible after the very fair pay offers we have made and which other staff have been happy to accept. We have been flexible in putting forward further reasonable offers, but they have all been rejected by the union.” 

EMT has stated that a revised timetable will operate from Sunday 28 September until Saturday 4 October. And details of the revised timetable will be available at www.eastmidlandstrains.co.uk from Thursday 25 September. 

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