Edinburgh tram strike suspended after bosses make offer in last-ditch talks over sick pay

Strikes by tram workers set to go ahead this week have been suspended after company bosses made an offer in last-ditch crisis talks with the Union over sick pay.

More than 100 workers were due to walkout on Thursday (November 17) for ten days in the first wave of planned strikes during the Scottish Rugby Union Autumn Test series as well as the start of Christmas activities.

It comes after Unite union served Edinburgh Trams with strike action notice on 2 November claiming bosses from the company reneged on a sick pay element of a pay deal signed by Edinburgh Trams and Unite.

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Both parties entered talks with ACAS on Tuesday in a bid to resolve the dispute after Unite threatened a second round of strike action which would likely take place over Christmas and into the New Year.

Trams workers willl no longer strike from 17 November for 10 days

The union called on senior management at Edinburgh Trams to provide a ‘sensible proposal’ over sick pay.

Now workers will be balloted over a fresh proposal which Unite said they will recommend is accepted by workers.

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The row centred on a deal struck with the union on pay which has been implemented by the company but bosses later reviewed the agreed sick pay commitment, saying it was ‘unaffordable’ while the company is still in recovery from the pandemic.

Unite said workers were furious and accused the company of ‘moving the goalposts’.

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Edinburgh Trams hit back at the Union saying their sick pay claims were ‘unreasonable demands’ and stated they were disappointed in decision to strike, after members accepted pay deal including a ‘generous increase’.

The Union had criticised the company as dismissive after stating in a memo to staff earlier this month that sick pay wouldn’t be reviewed again until the next pay negotiations in 2023.

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Lyn Turner, regional officer said: "The company has proposed improvements to the sick pay increasing it from 6 weeks to 15 weeks and that includes a reduction in waiting days from seven to three for a claim to be made. Strike action has been suspended while we consult workers in a ballot, with a recommendation to accept. However, we will reflect on these negotiations and how we go forward. This clearly shows why we urgently need ALEO reform.”