On March 28th, ASLEF members on Croydon Tramlink went on strike for the first time in a dispute over pay and conditions. They had voted by over 99% to take action on a turnout of 90%, a massive rejection of the company’s offer and a clear demonstration of their willingness to fight for fair pay. Since the strike, ASLEF have maintained contact with FirstGroup management, who operate the system on behalf of TfL, and have urged them to make an improved offer so that more disruption could be avoided. They have refused to do so and are not prepared to change their offer in any way. It is plain that FirstGroup have the same contempt for their staff as they have for the people of Croydon. They pay their Chief Executive a basic wage of £635,000 plus a pension contribution of 15% and an annual bonus of 150% of his salary. They have closed their final salary pension scheme, costing low paid staff tens of thousands of pounds over their working life. Their key aim to to provide “share holder value” rather than to provide decent public service and fair pay and conditions. Management believe that after one day of strike action, staff will simply roll over and give up. They are very wrong. ASLEF members are determined to fight for a fair deal which delivers a real terms pay rise and improvements in working conditions to reduce the constant fatigue and stress our members suffer. Today, the ASLEF Executive Committee has decided to give FirstTram Operations notice of three further strike days, May 1st, May 9th and May 23rd with more dates to follow if no agreement is reached. ASLEF is ready for talks at any time. It is now up to management to make an improved offer so that a summer of strike action on Croydon Tramlink can be avoided.
ASLEF District Organiser.