8 December 2015
RMT Press Office
Workers at rail engineering company Alstom in Chester, who maintain and service the Class 175 stock on the Arriva Trains Wales franchise at this purpose built depot, are to strike for 24 hours from 07.00 hours on Thursday 10th December in a fight over pay and conditions.
Additionally, from 07:00 hours on Friday 11th December 2015 until further notice, members will not work any overtime and will not work any rest days.
Throughout a sequence of meetings with the company rail union RMT has sought to negotiate an acceptable solution to the the pay & conditions claim for 2015 but despite strenuous efforts by the union’s negotiators Alstom has dug its heels in and refused to make any kind of serious progress.
RMT has set out a timeline for the current dispute which has led to this week’s strike action:
• 25th June 2015 the employer made an initial verbal offer of 1% and declined any reduction in the working week, which was rejected by the trade unions.
• 24th July 2015 the employer made a verbal offer of 1.5%, a one off 10 hour increase in annual leave for the current leave year only, a reduction of the working week by one hour.
• This offer was put to members in a referendum which was REJECTED 100% in the ballot.
• Following this rejection the employer was informed of a dispute situation by RMT’s General Secretary on 3rd September 2015.
• Following further talks held on 11th September 2015, the employer tabled a further offer of 2%, to support the full deployment of existing sickness and absence policy, plus a reduction in the working week of one hour from 4th September 2016.
• A further referendum on this offer was carried out which was again overwhelmingly rejected in the vote.
• On the 19th October further talks were held, at which the employer incredibly insisted on putting "two options" in a best and final offer, including the previously 100% rejected offer.
• Following consultation with members an overwhelming REJECTION of the "best and final offer" was fed back to the union.
• As a result the union balloted members again and recorded a massive vote in favour of industrial action.
• Despite giving the employer every opportunity to resolve the dispute through negotiation they have refused and as a result strike action has been put on for this week.
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:
“Despite the best efforts of RMT’s negotiating team to resolve this dispute Alstom have refused to listen and as a result of that the action goes ahead this week.
“Our members are rightly angry that they are still working two hours a week more than colleagues doing the same job on West Coast and are still being underpaid for the important work that they undertake.
“RMT expects rock solid support from our members for this action and the union remains available for talks.”