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Fresh talks in bid to end dispute at train depot

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: April 11, 2014

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EMERGENCY talks are set to take place today between union chiefs and management at a Burton train depot in a bid to reach a deal over shift pattern changes which saw staff head out on strike for two weeks.

Production workers at Bombardier’s Central Rivers maintenance depot, in Barton under Needwood, headed back to work for the first time yesterday since Wednesday, March 26, after they agreed on a compromise deal over changes to patterns of work.

However, chiefs at the Unite union revealed that this was only a temporary solution to allow employees to get back to work and said that further talks with management at the firm were set to take place today.

Unite regional officer Mick Stevens said: “Members have decided to vote on a different shift pattern that is better than the one previously offered in a bid to allow them to get back to work.

“However, this does not mean that they have agreed with the plans and further talks are set to take place today and in future days and weeks in a bid to try and get a positive solution to this situation.

“We are confident that we can come to an agreement that will mean that disruption to workers is minimised.

“But we want to stress that this dispute is not resolved and there is still a lot of work to do before a permanent solution is agreed upon.”

Workers originally downed tools over changes to employee work patterns which they claimed would force them to work 70 per cent of their shifts at night time, causing ‘massive disruption to the workers’ family lives’.

As a result, Unite members began an escalating programme of industrial action beginning with a 12-week ban on overtime and 14 days on strike.

The action has caused significant disruption to the servicing, repairs and maintenance of Virgin and CrossCountry trains.

A spokesman for the firm said: “We confirm that strike action has been withdrawn at Central Rivers and staff returned to work yesterday.”

It was also revealed that ACAS representatives were set to mediate in talks between union chiefs and Bombardier bosses.

The body has the aim of bringing warring sides in industrial action to the negotiating table in a bid to end any disputes.

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