ACAS talks make progress but our dispute is far from over.
As you will know by now, after a lengthy series of meetings at the Government conciliation service ACAS, the ASLEF negotiating team felt that enough progress had been made to allow us to recommend that the strike planned for Thursday be suspended. Click here for a copy of the statement we agreed on the way forward.
It is important to emphasise that this does not end the dispute. Our ballot remains live, meaning that we can call more action if and when it is needed. LU were clearly trying to avoid delivering on the commitments made as part of the 2015/16 pay settlement. Our ballot has prevented them from doing so.
We will now continue with dedicated meetings chaired by ACAS, that are focussed on making sure all parts of the pay deal are delivered.
I know that many of you will remain sceptical about managements motivation and intentions. Your negotiating team share that scepticism. That is why ASLEF insisted on continued ACAS involvement to ensure that LU do not try again to evade their commitments.
Over the coming weeks, we will continue with intensive work on all aspects of the agreement. As an initial step, up to three drivers at each depot will be given the opportunity to move to pro-rata 4 day working. This will assist up to 90 drivers across the combine immediately, but also allow us to gauge more accurately how many people want to take up this option (and that of fewer shifts per week). This means that we will be better able to design a long term solution that gives more choice, while minimising any impact on drivers who do not want to change from their current arrangements.
We will also be analysing the outcome of the 4 day week trial on the Jubilee line in depth so that we can see what improvements can be made and what are the best ways to give people across the combine the choice of more quality time off and reduced weekend working.
None of this will be easy. As every rep knows, any changes to how rosters are organised can have an impact on peoples existing working arrangements. We also have to deal with the reality of the biggest Government cuts to TfL’s budget in its history and a freeze on fares that reduces revenue as inflation rises.
Despite these challenges, ASLEF are determined that every part of the pay agreement will be honoured. I am grateful for the support of all our members and reps across the combine that gave us our positive strike mandate and prevented LU reneging on their commitments, and especially to your Trains Council reps, Steve Crowley, Graham Dean, Gary Comfort, Steve Connolly, Maeve Hanley and Tony Cashman, who along with EC member Terry Wilkinson and I have worked hard to make this progress and will continue to do so.
A bulletin for depot notice boards will be sent out later this morning and regular updates and reports to branches will be sent out as talks continue.
Thank you again for your support and the work you do for your colleagues and fellow ASLEF members.