ASLEF ballot to protect London Underground agreements and Pensions.
Stripped of all the warm words about fairness and modernisation, TfL's intention is that staff work harder, for longer, for less!
ASLEF, the Train Drivers Union has given London Underground formal notification that we are balloting our members across London Underground. We have repeatedly asked management for assurances that they will honour all existing agreements and not make changes to your terms and conditions of employment or pension benefits without agreement.
They have refused to give those assurances, making their intention clear. They plan to get rid of any agreements that they deem hinder flexibility and use the review of pension provision as an excuse to cut benefits.
· Management summoned your elected Trains Council reps to a series of meetings at which they outlined their plans to reduce spare coverage and change the way drivers are rostered so that you spend much more time in the cab.
· At Company Council level, they have told us that they are reviewing all agreements and working practices to make them more flexible. Huge numbers of jobs have already gone as they fill only “essential” vacancies.
· Pension arrangements are also being “reviewed” with the clear intention of a huge cut to TfL’s contribution, meaning you get a much-reduced pension when you retire.
Do not underestimate just how much this could cost you. Moving away from a defined benefit, final salary scheme to a defined cost “money purchase” scheme as so many employers have already done, would mean members would be many tens of thousands of pounds worse off in retirement. That is not just hyperbole. It is the stark reality of what changes to the pension scheme would mean for your future living standard and the dreams you have for your future.
We all know how unfair this is. A year ago, the Government called us heroes. When we try to protect our conditions and incomes, we will be called villains and worse.
But simply complaining that something is unfair doesn’t change it.
And you would have to be very naïve to think that the Government is simply going to change its mind and provide TfL with all the money it wants, without trying to impose strings and attacks on staff conditions.
We will only be able to protect our conditions, agreements, and pensions if we demonstrate that we are prepared to fight to do so. Powerful speeches or strongly worded resolutions might make us feel better, but they won’t change anything. Only our ability to take effective industrial action at a time of our choosing will make management take a step back.
ASLEF have been completely open about our approach. We are prepared to negotiate and to discuss changes. But we will not be bullied, and we will not have detrimental change forced on you, our members, without agreement.
That is why we asked management to provide assurances that they would honour all existing agreements and commit to making changes only by agreement. As they have refused to so, a ballot for industrial action is the only reasonable response.
Members will start to receive ballot papers from Monday October 18th. A big Yes vote will show management they will have a fight on their hands when they come for your conditions and pensions. But they will count every negative or non-returned ballot as green light to do exactly what they want.
Your future is in your hands. To protect it, support your Union, Vote Yes and return your ballot paper
ASLEF District Organiser.