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Association of Train Operating Companies
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type Press release
date 11 January 2002
ATOC statement regarding national bargaining commenting on the proposal for National Bargaining, George Muir, Director General of ATOC said,
"Out of the frying pan into the fire, you might say. Instead of local strikes, the threat would be national strikes - as we saw in the past. Pay differentials are simply a part of life, and national bargaining can't get rid of them. The BR system hid the differentials but they re-emerged in a maze of local variations. These variations were so important to staff that they clung to them in a rigid, inflexible way. It became very difficult to improve productivity and productivity is the only sustainable basis for long term increases in pay and conditions, let alone improvements to passenger service.
Since privatisation, there has in fact been real progress in industrial relations in the railway industry, and days lost through strikes so far have been low. Productivity and flexibility has improved. Staff have shared in this. Pay and conditions have improved and the numbers employed in the industry is up. But, as we are seeing, the threat of passenger disruption from strikes and work to rules remains very real. The strategy of the industry is to offer staff a better way, through modern industrial relations, and to remain firm in the face of unreasonable union action.
Modern industrial relations means local agreements and flexibility. It requires a vision from Union leaders that the prosperity for their members comes from the success of the industry, from investment and from productivity. Strikes and work to rules should have no place in industry. The cost of national bargaining would be huge and would eventually fall on the Government or passengers. Mike Rix, General Secretary of ASLEF made this clear when he said in the ASLEF Journal, "National bargaining will also give us the chance to level up the pay and conditions of all ASLEF members."
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Railhub Archive ::: 2002-01-11 ATO-001