Industrial Action called on First North Western and Wales and Borders

08 September 2005

Train drivers on two franchises are to take strike action next month unless their disputes with employers are resolved, their union ASLEF announced today.

Drivers employed at the new Wales and Borders franchise voted for industrial action by 87% over a dispute about pay harmonisation between employees transferred from several different previously existing train operating companies.

Drivers employed by First North Western rejected the company"s latest pay offer by 62% in a ballot. This disputes centres on the phasing in of a pay award to give drivers parity with those working for similar franchises elsewhere.

Strike dates were set on both franchises for the December 14/15/ December 21/22 2002, allowing time for the disputes to be resolved through negotiations

ASLEF General Secretary Mick Rix said: 

"I believe that it should be possible to sort out these problems were it not for the role of Strategic Rail Authority which is interfering behind the scenes. Wales and Borders management, in particular, believes that they could make an acceptable offer on harmonisation if the Strategic Rail Authority stopped blocking them from doing so".

"Normal collective bargaining is all but impossible under these circumstances. The SRA must either leave management free to negotiate with ASLEF or should open direct talks with the union if industrial action is to be averted".

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