Union explains pension stance

16 May 2006

ASLEF President Alan Donnelly is to write to all members to explain the Executive Committee’s position on pensions. He will first remind members of the Joint Union Campaign - to protect members’ pension benefits; cap employee contribution rates at a maximum of 10.56%; and achieve a commitment to streamline the pension schemes and prevent the closure of schemes to new entrants.


Alan then outlines activities that have taken place during the campaign, both public and private. Publicly the general secretaries of the unions travelled the UK explaining the campaign, the implications of the deficit recovery period, the default positions and all the associated issues. Meanwhile discussions have continued with the Train Operating Companies.


The union, Alan says, wrote to all Train and Freight Operating Companies in the same vein as the TSSA and RMT explaining our position and indicating the potential of industrial action should they fail to meet the criteria.


The ASLEF executive committee resolved to examine each individual response on its merits. Alan will say, ‘At no time did we see this campaign as a ‘charter for a national dispute’.’ It was intended to achieve the four objectives outlined above.


Alan refers to a number of successes – notably securing one scheme being re-opened to new recruits. He points out that many of the Train and Freight Operators have met ASLEF’s demands. In these cases, agreements have been struck. As regards the others, ‘We will not shy away from confronting those employers who fail to meet our aspirations when the need arises.’


The union’s executive considers the streamlining of the Railway Pensions Schemes as ‘a matter of political debate’ and says many train companies which employ our members will support the union’s call for urgent government intervention. The union will pursue this channel with its Parliamentary Group and in talks with the Department for Transport.


Finally Alan will remind members that ASLEF has been campaigning on pensions for some time – specifically as regards back-service pensionable pay.

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