May 15, 2012 10.13 am This story is over 119 months old

East Midlands Trains challenges union on fifth strike day

Accusations: East Midlands Trains accuses ASLEF of keeping drivers in the dark as a fifth day of strikes ensues.

East Midlands Trains have accused ASLEF of keeping its members in the dark as a fifth day of striking action in Lincoln begins.

EMT asked the trade union to let its members decide on the company’s previous proposals to resolve the dispute over pensions, and why it “deliberately” did not tell members about new proposals put forward.

ASLEF denied that it did not inform members of EMT’s newest offer, but according to EMT, later admitted it.

Disputes began when East Midlands Trains were advised by an independent expert to stop requiring drivers to contribute £500 to their pension funds.

Clare McCartney, HR Director for East Midlands Trains, said: “Drivers are asking us why their union is denying them the right to decide on our proposals to resolve this strike over nothing.

“We have never understood why train drivers were being encouraged by ASLEF to strike for less pay. At the same time, drivers are being misled by ASLEF into losing a further £200 a day each time they walk out.

“Our proposals would increase the take-home pay for our employees, and increase their pension benefits. ASLEF should be honest about our proposals and let drivers decide.”

“Bizarre and insulting”

However, ASLEF general secretary Mick Whelan feels EMT’s statements regarding the proposals are bizarre and insulting to the union.

He said: “They have run out of ideas, so they are beginning to hit us like naughty children.

“Their latest accusation – that the union is ‘keeping its members in the dark’ – is even more ridiculous than it is insulting.

“They are obviously ignorant about this issue. Not being members of our union, they obviously do not know what has been communicated.

“If they had been ASLEF members they would know the company’s accusations are ridiculous. We have communicated with our members by every means available to us.

“This type of misleading attack will only lengthen this dispute. I call on EMT management to try to control themselves and come back to the negotiating table in a reasonable and dignified manner.”

McCartney added: “The only explanation for these continuing strikes is that ASLEF have boxed themselves into a position where they feel they cannot back down without losing face, and it is wrong that they are using their members pay packets to save face.”

Service alterations

Meanwhile, EMT services from Lincoln will be affected by continued strike action on May 15 and also on Thursday, May 17.

Services to Leicester, Nottingham, Newark (both stations), Spalding, Sleaford, Grimsby and Doncaster will be affected.

EMT will put replacement rail and bus services in place for passengers, or full refunds will be given.

Visit the EMT service disruption page to check if your journey is affected.