EMT Train Drivers Olympic Strike

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ChristopherJ

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Now train drivers are to stage three days of strikes during the Olympics after immigration staff threaten to walk out at airports

Strange to write an article about East Midlands Trains in Britain and include a photo of the cab of a French TGV POS! Or have I missed something whilst asleep...? <D

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/art...s-Train-drivers-stage-days-strikes-Games.html
Aslef union will take industrial action over pensions on August 6, 7 and 8

Train company bosses are 'shocked and angry' strikes are being planned at time of 'great national pride' for country

Aslef general secretary, Mick Whelan calls cutting pension contributions 'highly irresponsible'

Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt claims unions would be 'completely out of tune' with public mood if strike held during Games

Labour leader Ed Miliband: 'People should not be striking during the Olympics. People should not be disrupting the Olympic Games'

Signalling problems at one of Olympics' busiest stations causes travel chaos for commuters today
 
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blacknight

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Mad world we live in ATM drivers are wanting to go out on strike because EMT are wanting to put more money in their wage packet.
Sounds to good to be true must be a catch in this offer by EMT;)
 

Max

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Some strikes are justified, but I simply cannot get my head around why ASLEF are getting so worked up about this. It doesn't seem to be detrimental to its members. The timing is completely selfish too.
 

whhistle

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Some strikes are justified, but I simply cannot get my head around why ASLEF are getting so worked up about this. It doesn't seem to be detrimental to its members.
This is my thoughts but there must be more than meets the eye... surely?
The only thing I can think of is that they want to pay less into the pension pot meaning in the end, they would come out with less.
 

blacknight

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Some strikes are justified, but I simply cannot get my head around why ASLEF are getting so worked up about this. It doesn't seem to be detrimental to its members. The timing is completely selfish too.
Timing done for maximum impact cannot see them taking 48 hour strike action on 25 & 26 December as it would have no impact on service if no trains are planned to run on those dates.
 

Ivo

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Aslef general secretary, Mick Whelan calls cutting pension contributions 'highly irresponsible'
I'm sure that everyone here would agree that their response is far more irresponsible than this - which has been blown out of proportion anyway...
 

michael769

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I presume that both workers & company will pay less into the pension scheme
Indeed. And when the proven (by history) stupidity of cutting pension contributions when it is doing well is confirmed in a few years when it is doing less well and they (if this goes ahead) will face lower pensions a longer working life and higher contributions.

Presumably that is what they want to avoid.
 

38Cto15E

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Is there an EMT driver on this board who can put their side of the case, there must be two sides to the story, because the offer does seem OK at face value.
 

142094

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PCS also apparrently to go on strike just before the Opening Ceremony.

Ask 100 people this question and you'll get 100 different answers:

"When is the best time to go on strike?".
 

GadgetMan

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Is there an EMT driver on this board who can put their side of the case, there must be two sides to the story, because the offer does seem OK at face value.
Central did something similar a few years back when the pot was overfunded. Towards the end of the franchise the fund wasn't doing so well and there was a financial hole to fill. Did Central Trains help to plug the hole with money they'd saved? No! Our contributions went up to make up for the underfunding and Central passed the franchise on to the next winning bidder.

I guess EMT drivers are worried there might be a repeat of the above scenario. Both the TOC and staff will save a few quid right now. Then when the fund isn't doing so well, EMT will be long gone with the money they saved, and drivers will have to plug the hole again with more money than they will save in the short term.
 

D841 Roebuck

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I'm sure that everyone here would agree that their response is far more irresponsible than this - which has been blown out of proportion anyway...
I fully support ASLEF in this matter. The dispute is about a proposed pensions holiday at EMT. Presumably the union members concerned are taking a long term view of the situation, rather than looking for short term gains.

Its exactly the same with the ongoing PCS dispute.

As others have said in this thread, the whole point of any industrial action is to cause maximum disruption to and/or embarassment for the employer, whilst losing as little pay as possible for the workers. The Olympics provide an ideal opportunity for this.
 

David

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I fully support ASLEF in this matter. The dispute is about a proposed pensions holiday at EMT. Presumably the union members concerned are taking a long term view of the situation, rather than looking for short term gains.
I thought the dispute was about reducing the amount paid into a pension scheme, not stopping payments altogether for an undefined period of time? :?

Anyway, we don't know what type of fund(s) the EMT pension scheme is invested in. If it is a FTSE 100 tracker, then it will be in relatively good shape, as the dividend payments will allow the fund to grow in size despite share prices falling, or at least remain static in value.

However, if the scheme is invested in a number of medium to high risk funds, I can understand the concern, as these types of funds can be very volatile, but also have high growth, but I would be asking question of the pension scheme why they are investing in these types of funds in the first place.

1 last thing. I'm surprised that neither ASLEF or the RMT have pressed for a few options for their members, such as:

  • Accept the reduced pension contribution and keep the money for yourself.
  • Accept the reduced pension contribution and have the money saved each money put into a regular saver account.*
  • Accept the reduced pension contribution and invest the money saved each month in a stakeholder pension.**
  • Reject the proposal.

*I've suggested a Regular Saver account as these typically have a slightly higher interest rate and pay a bonus at the end of each year if you don't make many, if any withdrawals.

**You can invest in a stakeholder pension as well as other pensions (such as a work scheme).
 

whoosh

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The pension fund undergoes a valuation every three years. At the last valuation (December 2010), the pension fund was found to be 98% funded (an improvement on the one from December 2007). The company wishes to decrease the contributions - they had been increased after the 2007 valuation - to the rates used previously to that. They say that there is no point for a higher rate to be paid, as the valuation says the fund is healthy, and the benefits paid out by the fund will be the same. However, the union is concerned that the economy has worsened since December 2010, and believes contributions should remain the same to ensure the pension scheme remains in a good financial state.

The company has accused the union of 'hypocrisy' as the union has agreed to a lowering of contributions at two other franchises. However, unlike the two other franchises who will still be around at the next valuation (and therefore be able to then take action to correct any shortfall), the East Midlands Trains franchise will come to an end before the next valuation. If there is a deficit then, created or worsened by the reduction in contributions now, the union will have to negotiate with the new franchise holder to increase contributions to try and claw back losses.



In correspondence with a driver at EMT, the Under Secretary of State at the Department for Transport, Norman Baker, wrote:

"...the Department is disappointed that East Midlands Trains has chosen to reduce contributions rather than have them remain as they are. Leaving contributions as they are would have ensured some stability in the current economic climate."

Pretty much ASLEF's point!


ASLEF requested an interim valuation of the pension fund. If it was still in, or close to, as good a financial position as the December 2010 valuation, it would back up the company's position (that we're all overpaying now to receive the same benefits). The company has refused to have an interim valuation.
 

Clip

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Did we not have a thread on this last time and it was because the pot was overvalued and the pension scheme does not allow an overvalued pot?
 

Xenophon PCDGS

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As others have said in this thread, the whole point of any industrial action is to cause maximum disruption to and/or embarassment for the employer, whilst losing as little pay as possible for the workers. The Olympics provide an ideal opportunity for this.
Is it really true that Ed Milliband was supposed to have said that no disruption caused by industrial action should take place during the period of the Olympic Games ? (I cannot see other Labour politicians such as Denis Skinner ever being beholden to that particular viewpoint).

Anyone like to comment on this, to clarify the matter.
 

JohnB57

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Is it really true that Ed Milliband was supposed to have said that no disruption caused by industrial action should take place during the period of the Olympic Games ? (I cannot see other Labour politicians such as Denis Skinner ever being beholden to that particular viewpoint).
Comparing those two is like comparing Pacers with Pendolinos. What they have in common pales into insignificance when you look at the differences. And whereas they both have their place in the fleet, you wouldn't really want too many old groaners, would you?

I believe the Ed Miliband quote is accurate. But had he condoned the industrial action during the Olympics, he'd have been a turkey voting for Christmas.
 

Legzr1

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ASLEF requested an interim valuation of the pension fund. If it was still in, or close to, as good a financial position as the December 2010 valuation, it would back up the company's position (that we're all overpaying now to receive the same benefits). The company has refused to have an interim valuation.

Strange.

You'd almost think that the 'company' where trying to pull a fast one and save a few £million before the franchise ends...
 

JohnB57

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Strange.

You'd almost think that the 'company' where trying to pull a fast one and save a few £million before the franchise ends...
There's no "pulling a fast one" (nice rail industry phrase by the way!) about it. EMT has a responsibility to its shareholders and this is about as transparent as it gets. When the family silver was sold off fifteen years ago, we were left with this inheritance, private enterprise, capitalism. You can't expect them to behave like social enterprises, despite their public function.
 

ANorthernGuard

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I don't know the "ins and outs" of this disagreement but what I do know is this almost every time when there is 2 years or less left in a franchise, employee relations nosedive and every member of staff that works for a TOC knows it and sees it. My TOC's staff relations are so low, morale is at rock bottom while they are creaming millions of profits for its shareholders. The same thing happened in First North Western days, they then build up again with a new TOC then you can guarantee the cycle starts again. But I will be honest with everyone here when Morale is at Rock Bottom the only people who suffer (apart from the staff) are the passengers. Just pray the Northern franchise gets handed over quickly as tension is already rising and the next year or so will be bad for everyone Except the Directors and the shareholders!
 

swt_passenger

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Did we not have a thread on this last time and it was because the pot was overvalued and the pension scheme does not allow an overvalued pot?
There's definitely something relevant about that. Pension fund managers have to operate within the law - I imagine they are between a rock and a hard place.

What won't necessarily help is politicians effectively suggesting that whatever rules there are should not apply in this particular case. Presumably they brought in such laws as as there are with best intentions to protect the workforce from rip-off merchants.
 

Legzr1

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There's no "pulling a fast one" (nice rail industry phrase by the way!) about it. EMT has a responsibility to its shareholders and this is about as transparent as it gets. When the family silver was sold off fifteen years ago, we were left with this inheritance, private enterprise, capitalism. You can't expect them to behave like social enterprises, despite their public function.
So (I hope i'm reading this right) it's ok for a private company to put it's employees pension pot at future risk as long as they're open about it?

Madness.

If there is no apparent risk to the pot then why not be open about that?

The union suggestion of a interim valuation would sort this all out quickly.

I can only think of one reason why the company would refuse...

I'd have a guess and suggest even coalition ministers would agree.


However,I agree that shareholders might not be too impressed.
Shame that.
Are they worried that any shares held in their pensions might be devalued?

Ironic...





(nice rail industry phrase by the way!)
;)
 

Wolfie

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There's no "pulling a fast one" (nice rail industry phrase by the way!) about it. EMT has a responsibility to its shareholders and this is about as transparent as it gets. When the family silver was sold off fifteen years ago, we were left with this inheritance, private enterprise, capitalism. You can't expect them to behave like social enterprises, despite their public function.
my bold

...and the TU has an obligation to its members - what is the difference? This is a case where the interests of the stakeholders diverge.

Why, just to allow the Souter family to get even more bloated and repulsive, should ordinary staff members pensions be put at risk. An interim valuation before final decision as to the way ahead seems proportionate and reasonable what do the company have to hide by refusing one?
 

michael769

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There's definitely something relevant about that. Pension fund managers have to operate within the law - I imagine they are between a rock and a hard place.
There is nothing in law that prevents an overvalued scheme. It may lose tax benefits for the amount that goes over HMRC limits - and this will limit returns on that portion and the amount payed in has to be reduced a little to cover income tax liabilities. In such cases one has to consider if the benefits of running overvalue is greater than the employees investing independently elsewhere, as a general rule as an employer will not pay their share of the lost contributions to employees it is usually still of benefit to employees (but most definitely not to employers) to continue contributions.

My final sentence is I suspect at the essence of this dispute.
 

HH

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Didn't I read, "...the pension fund was found to be 98% funded...". How is that the same as "overvalued"?

This is more like when you are paying for your energy on Direct Debit and the dumb Utility company reduces your payments just before you hit the most expensive quarter of the year. Except that in a pension £1 invested now is not the same value as £1 invested in 5 years time...
 

krisk

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No smoke without fire me thinks. It wont have returned a sufficient mandate to strike unless the reason was strong enough, who can realistically afford to drop pay in the current climate

Good on them I say
 

D841 Roebuck

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Is it really true that Ed Milliband was supposed to have said that no disruption caused by industrial action should take place during the period of the Olympic Games ? (I cannot see other Labour politicians such as Denis Skinner ever being beholden to that particular viewpoint).

Anyone like to comment on this, to clarify the matter.
Ed Moribund got the job because he is slightly less obnoxious than his brother.

That doesn't mean his comments have any relevance or interest for trade union members...
 
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