More fallout over East Midlands Trains pensions as second union ballots over strikes

Widespread local train services disruptions are expected if a second rail workers’ union decides to go on strike over pensions.

The National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) is balloting its local members to decide whether to take industrial action against East Midlands Trains’ pension scheme.

RMT decided to hold the ballot after seeing the ongoing strikes by local members of ASLEF.

Strikes are currently in place due to disagreements over EMT’s decision to reduce train drivers’ pension contributions by £500 per year from July.

RMT believe this is unfair due to the current economic climate, and is a dangerous short-term move.

RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said: “While RMT members will receive a small financially gain from a reduction in contributions it is clear that the biggest winner will be the employer.

“The RMT believe that the employer’s savings will be in the region of £750,000 per annum.

“Despite the RMT objections management have gone ahead regardless of these concerns for the future funding of the EMT Pension Scheme.

“It is our opinion that management’s refusal to withdraw this proposal is irresponsible and only suits to line the pockets of shareholders.

“One thing is for certain, the employer may alter as a result of a change in franchise but the pension scheme members will remain the same, and it is members who will be left to pick up the pieces after future valuations are downgraded.”

“Unhelpful move”

Meanwhile, East Midlands Trains feels that RMT’s call to ballot members at the company will do nothing to resolve the dispute.

EMT recently held talks with ASLEF to alter the proposals, but ASLEF rejected these propels, leading to further strikes on May 15 and 17.

Managing Director for East Midlands Trains David Horne said: “The RMT’s
announcement today that it will ballot its members is extremely unhelpful
and will cause further uncertainty among our passengers, whose services are being disrupted for no reason.

“The fact is that the pension scheme is in good health and the new pension
contributions are the recommendation of independent experts.

“It makes no sense for the RMT to ask their members to join ASLEF colleagues in striking for less pay and losing hundreds of pounds by walking out.”

He added: “If the unions really have the interests of their members at
heart, they should work with us to ensure employees benefit from higher
take-home pay and increased pensions benefits.”