Rail company faces second strike ballot

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RAIL firm East Midlands Trains could be hit with strike action by a second union over planned changes to staff pensions.

Drivers’ union ASLEF is due to hold a sixth one-day walkout tomorrow, meaning the company’s only trains to and from Sheffield will be a skeleton service to London.

Now the RMT union, which represents guards, train crew and station staff, has announced it is balloting its members for a strike or action short of a strike.

Both unions are unhappy about the company’s plans to reduce both its employer contributions and the amount paid by staff to its pension scheme.

East Midlands Trains says the change follows the recommendation of an independent audit into its scheme - but workers fear the Stagecoach-owned firm is motivated by cost cutting.

A spokesman for the RMT union said: “We are balloting about the same issue as ASLEF. Papers have been sent out to staff and the ballot closes on May 30.

“We are expecting a strong response and a yes vote on both questions. There are about 700 staff being balloted - guards, train crew and station staff.”

David Horne, managing director of East Midlands Trains, said: “The RMT’s announcement is extremely unhelpful and will cause further uncertainty among passengers, whose services are being disrupted for no reason.

“The fact is that the pension scheme is in good health and the new contributions are the recommendation of independent experts. It makes no sense for the RMT to ask their members to join ASLEF colleagues in striking for less pay and losing hundreds of pounds by walking out.”