ASLEF Circular

08 September 2005


Urgent update on negotiations

On 19 December 2002, our negotiators on First North Western (FNW) received a revised offer in respect of the First North Western 2002 Pay.

After consideration by the Executive Committee it was decided that the latest offer should be put to a referendum of members.

Two major issues throughout this dispute have been the proposals for extended notice periods for FNW members and the proposals pertaining to Senior Drivers.

The proposals in respect of notice periods have now been removed from the revised offer, and the 6 month notice period will now only apply to those individuals who passed out as Business Link Drivers on or after the commencement of the offer, i.e. 1 April 2002.

Another matter of contention, as expressed by members, was the proposal to remove Senior Drivers from the line of promotion. Although, FNW intend to go ahead with proposals to create a Driver Team Manager grade, this will now be handled in accordance with the agreed procedures and subject to the PT&R industrial relations machinery. Further, no current Senior Driver will be forced to move into another grade.

We are concerned that there has been no movement on money, and this is despite the strenuous negotiations by our team. It has been made clear to the negotiating team, on many occasions that FNW (like other train operating companies) has had pay restraint imposed upon them by the Strategic Rail Authority.

It has also been indicated that the only way there may be the possibility of any new money injected into the offer is if major productivity issues were given away, for example, reductions in sickness pay and annual leave.

It has therefore been decided by the Executive Committee, due to the political nature of this dispute, that FNW members should be consulted at every stage. In addition to the well attended members meetings held this week, there will be a referendum of members in respect of this revised offer.

After listening to members’ concerns at this week’s mass meetings, the decision has been made that it would be foolhardy to call off the strikes that are currently in place – until such time as FNW members have had the opportunity to decide through a referendum that an acceptable offer has been achieved.

The referendum will be conducted by the independent Scrutineers Electoral Reform Ballot Services, with a closing date of Monday 20 January 2003. Full details of the revised offer will be sent to every individual FNW member.

It has been decided that members should know exactly and clearly what this dispute is about and therefore we encourage all members to exercise their vote in this important referendum.

All members on First North Western are to be congratulated on their solidarity in this important dispute.

Please bring the contents of this circular to the urgent attention of your members.

Yours fraternally,

General Secretary

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