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Further strikes in EMT pensions dispute

Relations between Aslef and East Midlands Trains have come under fresh strain after the union called for further industrial action over pension scheme changes.

EMT has labelled this action as “hypocrisy”, as other similar deals have been agreed without strikes.

Aslef has planned strikes for June 23 and 25. Changes to the pensions scheme, planned for implementation from July, would mean both drivers and EMT reducing contributions to pensions.

The £500 in extra contributions were required to clear a previous deficit and are no longer necessary, EMT argues. It says the changes will have “no impact on final pension” and will save employees money.

David Horne, EMT managing director, said: “Both the RMT and Unite unions have recommended acceptance of the same updated pensions proposals we offered to Aslef several weeks ago. Aslef also accepted the same pension contribution changes at two other rail companies.  The action being taken by Aslef is indefensible and pure hypocrisy.

“Everyone wants Aslef to put the interests of its members and passengers first by sitting down with us to resolve this dispute.”

Aslef’s general secretary Mick Whelan said in a statement: “The company began to put out these smears only hours after agreeing a meeting for next Tuesday. So on one hand they smile and promise open and honest talks, while on the other they sneak around calling the union names. And then they accuse us of hypocrisy!

“I have to say their ill-tempered outbursts do not bode well for an agreement to be made at next week’s meeting. They are clearly more concerned with their egos than their passengers.

“Today EMT is making inappropriate comparisons with other companies who have consulted properly with their staff. It is disingenuous to say the least. They are the first to tell us that all agreements are ‘stand alone’ – pay, pensions, conditions, whatever. Given this, I really don’t think we need sermons about hypocrisy from EMT. Today’s outburst looks like an attempt to sabotage Tuesday’s negotiations.”

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