ASLEF and London Midland

10 March 2011

London Midland today issued a press statement to the effect that it was being ‘held to ransom’ by demands from ASLEF. This is wrong, and the company knows it is wrong. ‘London Midland appears to be looking for a scapegoat for its own incompetence,’ says union general secretary Keith Norman. ‘It can look elsewhere.’

The problem is that there are very few, if any, volunteers to work next Sunday. The background is this:

  • attendance on Sunday is voluntary
  • two years ago, to attract more volunteers, LM offered drivers double time to work this day off
  • now they have decided to drop this rate.

At no time has the union been consulted about these moves, either the increase or the decrease. The company put both forward without any reference to ASLEF – so it is utterly untrue to suggest that this union is ‘holding anyone to ransom’. On the contrary, ASLEF has never been invited to discuss the issue.

Last year management halved the rate on Sundays and found it had no volunteers. This year it is repeating the operation.

The coming weekend is the first time drivers are expected to work for a lower rate of pay than they have had for the past two years. They have individually decided how to react.

‘I don’t see what other reaction the company could expect,’ says Keith Norman. ‘They cut the rate of pay and then they are surprised when no one snatches their hand off.

‘ASLEF has not asked anyone not to work this weekend. But equally I would be surprised if there is a queue to do so.’

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