East Midlands Trains says it will run services despite strikes in May

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EAST Midlands Trains has pledged to run services despite planned strike action next month.

The ASLEF train drivers union is planning industrial action after confirmation by East Midlands Trains that pension contributions for employees will reduce from July, following recommendations from an independent pension valuation. ASLEF’s stance is to maintain the higher pension contribution rates, but East Midlands Trains says this would see train drivers paying around £500 a year more than they need to, for no additional benefits.

Train drivers belonging to the ASLEF union have voted in favour of taking strike action on May 1, 3, 8, 10, 15 and 17.

David Horne, managing director of East Midlands Trains, said: “Pension contributions made by our employees will reduce from July this year. This is good news for our staff and will have no impact on their pension benefits. It follows recommendations from a recent pension valuation, which is an independent financial health check on the scheme. We have written to our employees to explain the forthcoming changes and the background.

“It makes ASLEF’s stance difficult to understand and we are surprised that our train drivers are planning to take industrial action over this matter. We cannot see how ASLEF’s demands, to continue with higher pension contributions when they are not required, are in the best interests of their members. We know that elsewhere in the rail industry, and in other sectors, employees are being asked to contribute more towards their pension schemes, but this is not the case at East Midlands Trains. It really is good news for our people that the joint contributions are reducing for all of our employees, and for drivers this will save them around £500 a year.

“What ASLEF is suggesting would mean employees paying hundreds of pounds a year more into the scheme than is needed for the benefits they receive - particularly at a time everyone in the country is facing a squeeze in living standards. Industrial action would mean employees unnecessarily being even more out of pocket.”

Details of the services which will be available on Tuesday, May 1, Thursday, May 3, Tuesday, May 8, Thursday, May 10, Tuesday, May 15, and Thursday, May 17, can be found at www.eastmidlandstrains.co.uk