Edinburgh trams disappointed by planned Unite workers’ strike

Unite the union plans to go on strike saying it is because the company backtracked on its sick pay deal.

This assertion is countered by Edinburgh Trams who find it disappointing that the union is planning to strike as the management team has continued to consult on the outstanding points in the 2022 wage negotiation.

The Edinburgh Reporter understands that a lot has been agreed and already put in place. A pay rise of £2,300 for all staff has been paid – retroactive to April 1, 2022. This equates to an 11% increase for the lowest paid staff.

Added to this is a 15% increase in Event Management payments, an increase in the maximum company pension contribution, which means that the contribution goes from 6% to 6.5%, an increase in death in service payments which increase from three times to four times the basic salary, an additional day off for any member of staff who has worked there for more than ten years, and another additional day off after 15 years of service. Above all, the company has undertaken not to carry out any automatic dismissal from April 1, 2022 for a period of three years.

Other points are still under discussion with Unite, such as the reduction of a driver’s working week to 35 hours with a list to be drawn up by the Unite Roster Committee. The company is also in discussion on transition arrangements for those who are in their final year of service when they have been with the company for more than 10 years. This would mean drivers could work fewer hours in the past six months without losing pay.

Sick Pay is being reviewed with the union. It could be increased to six months full pay and then to six months half pay for people with long-term or serious illness. To simplify the review process, serious illnesses and long-term illnesses have been categorized separately. But the company understood that negotiations were ongoing.

A spokesperson for Edinburgh Trams commented: “We are sincerely disappointed that Unite has decided on this course of action, having previously agreed to a generous pay rise and improved terms and conditions which have been overwhelmingly accepted by colleagues.

“As promised, we have continued our consultations on additional items for consideration, and we have made progress across the board. However, the Union is now demanding further improvements to sick pay which is simply unaffordable for the network so that it continues its recovery from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Despite these unrealistic demands, we will continue to discuss with the union and our colleagues with a view to reaching an amicable agreement that will avoid unnecessary disruption for our customers.”

We have asked the Unite union for comment, but the strikes are scheduled for the period November 17-27.

Place Saint-André tramway

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