Even the government backs strike in EMT

23 May 2012

A letter from the Under Secretary of State at the Department for Transport, Norman Baker, makes it clear that the government is ‘disappointed’ that East Midland Trains pressed ahead with reducing pension contributions – the cause of the current dispute. Echoing exactly the union’s argument, the government view is that, ‘Leaving contributions as they are would have ensured some stability in the current economic climate.’

‘This is precisely what the dispute is about,’ said ASLEF general secretary Mick Whelan. ‘It appears that EMT is not only taking on its employees, but is also defying the government.

‘Sadly, while the DfT clearly doesn’t agree with the government, it is prepared to back the company anyway.’

Mr Baker pointed out that, ‘the Department is disappointed that East Midlands Trains has chosen to reduce contributions rather than have them remain as they are. Leaving contributions as they are would have ensured some stability in the current economic climate.’

Mick Whelan says that if the government disagrees with what its franchisee is doing, the moral and logical thing to do would be to ‘knock some sense into the company’.

‘EMT is clearly out on a limb. It is time they came up with a solution to this problem of their own making which is inconveniencing passengers, alienating staff and leaving the company totally isolated.’

The letter was sent to an individual union member who raised the issue directly with the Department for Transport.

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