First Capital Connect dispute - MP calls for lasting resolution
A LASTING resolution to the misery caused to First Capital Connect (FCC) passengers in a pay dispute is needed, St Albans MP Anne Main has said. The Thameslink service had recently fallen into chaos after drivers decided not to work any overtime or on res
A LASTING resolution to the misery caused to First Capital Connect (FCC) passengers in a pay dispute is needed, St Albans MP Anne Main has said.
The Thameslink service had recently fallen into chaos after drivers decided not to work any overtime or on rest days in the dispute over their annual pay rise.
Industrial action was planned over Christmas, but train drivers union ASLEF has withdrawn the ballot after a revised pay offer was made.
Although the industrial action has been called off, Mrs Main has warned that there is little hope of a full resolution until the New Year following a meeting with FCC chief executive Mary Grant yesterday (Wednesday.)
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She said: "Disappointingly, it emerged that there was little hope of a full resolution of services until the New Year, as we are dependent on whether the drivers agree to the pay settlement.
"We pressed hard for Mary Grant to give us a concrete date for when this would happen and made it clear that this matter must be resolved as a matter of urgency. I very much hope that this was taken on board."
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Mrs Main said that the company apologised profusely for their failures in communication with MPs and passengers during the recent problems.
She said: "We are told that new communication mechanisms will be put in place and I hope these will prove much more effective."
The MP said she pressed FCC for answers on contractual arrangements for new drivers to ensure that a lasting resolution was in place but she was told that the information could not be disclosed due to 'commercial sensitivities.'
She also called for a goodwill package to compensate season ticket holders and FCC has agreed to consider the idea.
Mrs Main added: "It was a tough meeting and I was pleased to have a chance to put some issues to management directly, and also pass on some of my constituents' experiences to give them a real sense of the anger of commuters.