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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.”

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at [email protected]


Alan,   20/07/2012 at 12:38

Since 1983 when M Thatcher devaluated the Services Nationally subject to the Falklands war that could have been avoided. The level of Discipline; Justice and Security has gone out the window as money is being waisted in other ways that should certainly be avoided. This is where Unions are minimising the control of work flow as against developing productivity. To much money is being spread to acquire Tax refunds, which signifies why the banks are getting away with fraud.

Donald   20/07/2012 at 13:10

Well, I don't understand the first comment at all, but what we have seen repeatedly over the past few months, and are continuing to see, is various Unions blackmailing employers into paying staff extra money just to do their day job during the period of the Olympics. I was under the impression that Unions exist to protect the employment rights of their members, not to screw the employers and disrupt the travel plans of members of the public, who ultimately the staff wages.

Edwardo   20/07/2012 at 14:16

The general population is fed up with Unions holding the country to ransom with their own self-serving biggoted attitudes. We are all making sacrifices, most of us are not getting paid extra to do our day jobs nor make population suffer so the few can benefit. RMT, ASLEF et al: you should be ashamed.

Thom   20/07/2012 at 17:06

On Radio 4 last night the head of the PCS, Mark Serwotka, all but admitted its own announced strike is just a negotiating position, to squeeze every extra penny from the Government before it calls it off. Shameful - I can only think a similar thing applies with the rail unions.

Alan   20/07/2012 at 22:28

The rail service is about the best way of travel long distance and Town servicing compared to the bus. Unfortunately union people look unto themselves who vastly slow productivity. Unfortunately since serious cut backs in 1983 the rail service should have utilised a lot more intertown facilities that originally was operative. The way we are going at present things will get worse, and the lack of disipline in schools signifies unions are inflicting control instead of improving disipline and education. Get rid of unions and Private security like G4S and CPS in Law. Restrict the Banks as to what they can earn, and eliminate their excess commisioning. Bring back National service and the Police on the beet strengthening discipline, enforce aprenterships this will solve striking which will enforce society to apreciate and value what we're working for:

Mark Thames Valley Resident   27/07/2012 at 17:40

We have a union led by CROW who should be locked up in the TOWER of LONDON and shot. A few agitators too greedy. After the Olympics are over, anyone who went on strike, worked to rule or caused disruption should be sacked. If you CHOOSE to work in public service then strikes or other disruptive action should be a felony and the culprit sacked.

Will Rhodes   31/07/2012 at 09:15


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