Huge backing for action in Northern West

17 September 2008

ASLEF members in Northern Rail West have voted by over 90% to support industrial action because of a ‘severe breakdown in industrial relations’. The Executive Committee has earmarked 13 October for the first day of strike action, but has expressed its willingness to attend further talks to attempt to find a way out of the impasse.


Union general secretary Keith Norman says that he was notified of over 60 separate instances of failures to consult or of management breaking agreements. Along with the union’s President, Alan Donnelly, he met Northern management last week and says that constructive discussions were held. However Keith stresses that industrial relations at the company cannot be resolved or improved at national level. ‘The key is for management to re-establish cordial and respectful dialogue with local and company representatives,’ he says.


The Executive Committee has deliberately left a substantial amount of time between the ballot and the first strike precisely to allow further talks. ‘Our aim is to resolve this dispute without taking industrial action,’ Keith says. ‘If management take the same attitude it is possible to achieve this.’


Northern Rail West has informed its employees in a special briefing that it is willing to meet union representatives. ‘I trust that they will be as good as their word,’ Keith said. ‘If the company comes to the negotiating table with an open mind and a responsible attitude, we can get over these difficulties without inconveniencing customers. I can guarantee that this will be the approach from the union side.’

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