Train drivers in the Aslef union took their 6th day of strike action today against attacks to their pensions by employer East Midlands Trains. In Nottingham, the strike has been 100% solid meaning that trains have been cancelled, with the few that are running been driven by managers!
East Midlands Trains are planning to lower both the employer and employee contributions to the pension scheme, meaning that it will be worth less. Aslef estimates that this will give the company a £2.1m windfall until the next valuation in 2013.
This short term view of the pension scheme by East Midlands Trains is because they may not be running the franchise in a couple of years. Aslef members are striking to protect the current pensions scheme.
Aslef have been trying to resolve this with the employer for nearly a year but East Midlands Trains are refusing to listen.
RMT (the rail workers union) have today started balloting for strike action by their members on East Midlands Trains. There is the possibility of co-ordinated action between these two unions, and possibly UNITE, in the near future.
I spoke to local Aslef rep at Nottingham station, Andy, who said:
“We’ve had a lot of support from both the public and the RMT members in the station. I think people understand that we are just trying to defend the pensions we’ve worked hard for. Our conference raised £1200 for our fighting fund and we also received a donation from the RMT.
“East Midlands Trains are trying to divide us but it won’t work. We’re hoping for co-ordinated action to push them back and defend everybody’s pensions.”