Over the summer months, your ASLEF reps have carried on with pay talks on London Underground. These are now being facilitated by ACAS, the Government conciliation service.
There have now been eleven separate meetings and we still seem a long way from a conclusion. Of course, talks on pay and conditions on the Underground are never straightforward! There are four independent trade unions involved, each with our own democratic process and priorities. Previous pay rounds have sometimes dragged on until Christmas or even the New Year.
While it would be easy to get a quick settlement by accepting whatever the company offered, ASLEF has always been prepared to put in the time and effort to get the fair deal that our members deserve.
Some small progress has been made. In short, London Underground are now offering a pay rise of 2.7% backdated to April 2019 and from April 2020 “ a reduction in the contractual working week from 35 hours to 34.5 hours” and RPI plus 0.2% “ less the costs associated with the implementation of the reduction in the working week”.
Members will rightly point out that this is a long way from our aim of a 32-hour, 4 day week and a substantial increase in pay. We don’t believe that anyone should have to accept a reduction in future pay rises for a shorter working week.
But it does mark the first time in decades that London Underground management have even been prepared to talk about a reduction in working hours. That is why, while being clear that this offer is not acceptable, your ASLEF reps are still prepared to continue with talks. We see this very much as the starting point in a serious negotiation, not the end point.
When we meet again, we intend to quickly find out if the company are serious about a reduction in the working week. ASLEF aren’t interested in vague promises or “working parties” that end up delivering nothing but hot air. We want to see concrete proposals that give real benefits to our members.
Improvements in travel benefits and Boxing Day payments are also key parts of our claim that must be resolved as part of any settlement.
There is still clearly a long way to go before we reach a position that ASLEF can recommend to our members.But with your support, the negotiating team is determined to achieve an offer that means a real improvement in pay and working conditions for you, the people who work so hard to deliver the service that London relies on.
Full reports will be given at your ASLEF branch meeting.