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Thursday, 14 March, 2002, 11:05 GMT
Talks to avert Dockland rail strikes
Docklands Light Railway
Union members are calling for a "substantial" wage rise
Talks are taking place between Docklands Light Railway (DLR) managers and unions in an attempt to avert threatened strikes over a pay dispute.

The Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union has announced two planned 24-hour strikes from 1830 GMT on 25 March and from 1830 GMT on 3 April.

It followed a 4% pay offer put up by DLR which was rejected by RMT members by 3-1.

The RMT is calling for a "substantial" pay increase for DLR staff to bring them closer to salaries on the London Underground, which the union says can be up to 29% higher.

'No alternative'

Union general secretary Bob Crow said: "Our members have shown the depth of their anger at a successful and highly profitable company refusing to recognise the contribution to that success made by its workforce."

He said RMT members did not want to go on strike but they had been left with "no alternative".

"DLR still has time to see sense and get back around the negotiating table with a sensible offer."

Docklands Light Railway train
Trains are manned by so-called "train captains"
The union said the strikes would disrupt DLR services which about 145,000 people use daily, but it expected the company to try to run some trains.

DLR trains run automatically without the need for drivers, but they are manned by so-called "train captains" who are capable of taking the controls in cases of emergency.

The pay of a train captain is around 22,300 compared with 28,700 for a Tube driver, a wage gap of 29%, according to the RMT.

A spokesman for the RMT said of Thrusday's talks: "We are hoping they will table an improved offer. We will take that away and make our response."

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05 Feb 02 | UK
Rail disputes at a glance
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