|All four transport unions yesterday walked out of pay talks with Arriva Northern Rail.
The unions – ASLEF, RMT, TSSA and Unite – collectively and unanimously rejected a slightly revised offer presented at the meeting, and will refer the matter to their executive committees. The unions wanted a 4.1% pay rise, but were offered just 3.75%. They also demanded a reduction in the working week to 32 hours, improvements in maternity, paternity and parental rights, and full travel facilities for all employees.
TSSA general secretary Manuel Cortes said: “It’s extraordinary that given all the chaos which Northern have created, its heroes, our members who have been working above and beyond in extremely difficult circumstances, are not being properly rewarded. The company are penny-pinching and suggesting that our members take in effect a pay cut..
“It’s ridiculous! Pay talks have been delayed, cancelled and re-arranged by the company on numerous occasions. They should have started in February in time for the April anniversary date.
“The company are making the rules up as they go along. Every other year we’ve used the January Retail Price Index (RPI) figure which was 4% this year as reference for pay bargaining. But out of the blue, they offerred 3.75% – our members are being asked to take a real-terms pay cut!
“I’m concerned about how the company is conducting these talks but I’m pleased to see we are sticking together with our sister unions. We’ve put together a reasonable pay claim that asks for non-financial benefits as well as a small increase in pay (4.1%) and family friendly improvements.
“Previous pay talks with Northern have always involved a Company Director being in the room. This year, none has shown up even though we have repeatedly requested their presence. We remain open to further talks to resolve this matter. However, all four unions are meeting with their representatives to discuss what to do next and industrial action can’t be ruled out at this stage. Hopefully, Northern will now see sense.”
The RMT yesterday said its members would take further strike action.