Statement by ASLEF General Secretary to an Extraordinary Meeting of the London Assembly

05 September 2005

Extraordinary Meeting of the London Assembly: Statement by MD Rix, General Secretary, ASLEF

27 September, 2002

Dear Trevor,

Extraordinary Meeting of the London Assembly: 
Statement by MD Rix, General Secretary, ASLEF

Firstly I feel I must comment regarding the totally inadequate notice which I received in respect of this meeting – indeed, I received an email communication at 09.18hrs today inviting me to attend the meeting scheduled for 10.30hrs. I cannot therefore be present.

However, should the Authority wish to hear ASLEF’s views, I am more than willing to attend and present our case provided sufficient notice is given.

I have been in contact with London Mayor, Ken Livingstone concerning his assistance in relaying information in this dispute, at which time I made it quite clear that this dispute could have been avoided if LUL management had adhered to our negotiated agreements by not imposing pay rises without proper negotiation, and in accepting the principle of independent arbitration.

ASLEF is prepared, at any time to go to independent arbitration, or indeed, meet with LUL management (there have been no such meetings for 5 weeks) in order to resolve this dispute in an amicable manner.

I would like to take the opportunity to inform the Authority of several issues surrounding the dispute which may assist in your deliberations to enable you to form a balanced opinion.

ASLEF members were offered 3.2% and a no strike deal. Naturally, as befits any decent trades union, we rejected the no strike deal. Management unilaterally withdrew the offer and imposed a 3% rise on our members without recourse to further negotiations. The money has been put into my members pay packets.

This exposes a contradiction as on the one hand management is saying that there is no more money available, whilst on the other, by their own actions they have demonstrated that there is at least 3.2%.

Further, LUL has breached agreements on the negotiating machinery which is designed to avoid disputes by their actions in imposing the rise rather than negotiating the position.

Integral to our pay and conditions claim are two further important principles which ASLEF has been seeking to resolve.

Firstly, the LUL pension scheme which currently operates on a two-tier system and is riddled with inequalities; and secondly, the issue of travel facilities.

With regard to the former, ASLEF has for the past three years been seeking to address the inequalities through negotiations without success. Currently, we have members who are prevented from joining the scheme until they reach 26 years of age, and furthermore, we have members who, due to their sexuality, are denied the same pension rights as heterosexual members. 

It should be noted that, with regard to the latter issue, there would be no cost implications to LUL as the scheme assumes that all its members are heterosexual. Therefore, planning and cost considerations are already taken into account.

With regard to the right to travel facilities, again we have inequalities as members who began working for the company prior to a particular date receive full benefits, while those who were employed later receive considerably fewer travel benefits, which even lag behind those received by the London Police Force.

A further contention on which our members were balloted concerns our challenge to the inherently racist and discriminatory attitudes of LUL management. We have members who have complained through the proper procedures of racial harassment and discrimination, several of which were so blatant that they are now subject of Employment Tribunals.

In none of these cases has there been referrals of alleged perpetrators to the disciplinary process, which would have impacted upon management, but our black members who have made the complaints have been suspended from duty. At the same time, the same white managers against whom allegations have been made have been left to manage with impunity.

It is of great concern that 40% of all harassment cases that are referred to formal disciplinary hearings concern racial harassment, but that none has yet led to any disciplinary action being taken against any individual.

Both I, and ASLEF as a whole remain committed to finding a peaceful and lasting settlement. We are not suggesting that this can take place overnight, but with appropriate dialogue, movement will take place.

We believe that we have a very good case which we would urgently wish to put to independent arbitration. And it is my belief that this course of action would lead to the early end of the current situation which is blighting the reputation of London Underground and affecting the public service which we wish to provide.

Finally, I would be grateful if you would ensure that in future, I be given more than an hour’s notice as occurred this morning in order that consultation with yourselves can take place.

Yours sincerely

General Secretary

cc Ken Livingstone, London Mayor, Bob Crow, General Secretary, RMT, John Monks, General Secretary TUC, John Spellar MP, Minister of Transport

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