Here’s a statement from the ASLEF train driver’s union on the issue, something the above article COMPLETELY left out:
ASLEF announce strike dates on East Midlands Trains
18 Jul 2012
ASLEF’s Executive Committee announced today (18-07-12) that approximately 450 ASLEF members employed by East Midland’s Trains will take strike action on the following dates. August 6-7-8, 2012, as part of their on-going dispute with EMT over pensions contributions.
Previous strike action planned to take place from June 23-25, 2012 was suspended to allow for further negotiations to take place. However talks have failed to produce the hoped-for breakthrough.
ASLEF General Secretary Mick Whelan said
‘To cut pension contributions in the current climate is highly irresponsible. It is widely believed that the fund’s assets have dramatically decreased since the last valuation. 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. The current owners of the East Midlands Trains franchise may have no responsibility over the pension fund in a few years, whereas our members face the prospect of either cripplingly high contribution rates or reduced benefits due to a short-term cost-cutting decision made by EMT that has left the scheme in deficit.’
The rail unions are working together on a campaign to save rail from the government’s ‘cuts and austerity’ policies and to stave off the implementation of the McNulty Report.
‘We cannot leave rail to the ‘magic of the market’ as the Tories see it,’ she said. ‘The Command Paper is an attempt to save costs by introducing unproven and untested theories.’
‘Franchising and privatisation have been discredited as a faulty models,’ Mick declared. ‘One has led to the fragmentation of our industry and the second has deprived it of investment. Why are our fares more expensive than on Continental Europe? Because they invest in their railways while our system creams off profits into the bank accounts of private investors.’