Rail unions renew pensions talks call after Cardiff success

10 March 2006

The united rail unions - RMT, ASLEF, TSSA and CSEU - renewed their call to the government and rail employers to negotiate an end to the industry’s looming pensions crisis after the ‘standing-room only’ success of their first joint meeting with members last night in Cardiff.

 

The rail unions are campaigning jointly for a pensions deal that will keep contributions at a reasonable level, maintain benefits, keep schemes open to new members and streamline the proliferation of sections within the Railways Pension Scheme created by the fragmentation of privatisation.

 

They have warned that failure to resolve the dispute before pension-fund rules trigger massive contribution hikes from 1 July will result in co-ordinated ballots for industrial action across the industry.

 

“The excellent turnout in Cardiff last night underlines just how seriously our members take the security of their pensions, and the sense of unity and determination was clear for all to see,” RMT general secretary Bob Crow said.

 

ASLEF General Secretary Keith Norman warned, “Failure to deal with the mess that exists today will become a rod for the government’s own back because it is they who will have to pick up the pieces when it all starts falling apart at the seams.”

 

The TSSA’s Gerry Doherty said, “It is time for the government and the rail employers to respond to our repeated requests and start talking to us seriously,” while Amicus/CSEU regional officer Bryan Godsall insisted that, “The message we are getting across is that doing nothing is not an option – and our members will simply not accept the prospect of poverty in retirement.”

 

The four general secretaries will address further meetings in York (March 21), Glasgow (March 28), Edinburgh (March 29), Birmingham (April 3), Bristol (April 5) Perth (at the STUC, April 11), Manchester (April 19) and London (April 20).

 

All meetings are at 1830 except for Perth which is half an hour earlier.

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