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  • Writer's pictureFinn Brennan ASLEF Distri

After First Group torpedo Tram pay deal, Vote Yes to continue our fight for fair pay.

After a series of discussions on pay, brokered by the government conciliation service ACAS, ASLEF believed we were close to a proposal we could recommend to our members on Tramlink for consideration. But we have now been told that FirstGroup are prepared to offer just a 2% pay rise from November 2021, when the inflation rate was over 7% and a rise of 4.75 %, less than half the rate of inflation, for this year.

While Steve Montgomery, FirstGroups Managing Director of Rail, is reported to earn around £400,000 a year, his company is trying to force you to accept real terms pay cuts. But it is a different story for First Group bosses and shareholders who were paid out £500m in dividends during 2021/22.

Sitting on government backed contracts that mean they can’t lose, no matter how bad a service they provide, FirstGroup management have presided over the safety failures that led to the Sandilands crash in which seven people died and the collapse of rail services on the West Coast mainline. Rarely has a company demonstrated such contempt for its staff and its passengers.

As it is approaching six months since our original ballot, we now need to ballot again so that we can continue our fight for a fair pay deal over Xmas and into the New Year. Ballot papers will be sent out from next Monday, November 7th and we urge all members to Vote Yes and return your voting paper as soon as possible. The ballot closes on December 7th meaning that we can lawfully take action from December 21st.

There is no doubt that management will be hoping that having to ballot again will lead to a worse result than before so that they can pressure staff to accept a pay cut. But as the strength of your picket lines have shown, Tramlink staff are not so easily intimidated.

Please make sure to return your ballot paper with a Yes vote as soon as you receive it so that we can continue our campaign for a fair deal for all our members including recently qualified drivers. Without a positive Yes vote, there will be no pay rise at all either this year or next year.

Protect your future. Support your Union. Vote Yes and return your ballot paper.

Finn Brennan

ASLEF District Organiser.

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