We picked up a Tweet from train drivers union ASLEF at the weekend that said it is currently in dispute with Virgin Trains West Coast over the issue of pay.
ASLEF says that Virgin are claiming that the Department for Transport (DfT) is restricting what they are able to offer in the final year of a franchise. As far as I am aware it is normal practice for the DfT to clear any pay increases in the run up to re-franchising, a fact that ASLEF General Secretary Mick Wheelan acknowledges. So what is the issue here?
Commenting on the situation ASLEF General Secretary Mick Whelan “I acknowledge that train operating companies are advised by the DfT to contain the overall costs of pay deals in the final year of franchises. However, I have a commitment in writing from a previous Secretary of State for Transport which states that if a pay award is linked to productivity, then it is a matter for the train company.”
Mick added “ASLEF’s pay deal with Virgin Trains West coast is linked to productivity so the company should stop hiding behind the DfT and get back to the negotiating table with us.”
Steven Knight is a Transport Specialist who has over 40 years experience in the bus and rail industries as well as in specialist transport journalism. He is a member of the Chartered Institute of Journalists.