Threatened AA Strike Action

Members would still be covered

8 April 2010

The majority of AA Patrols will continue the proud tradition of serving members at the roadside

Andrew Strong, CEO of the AA, responds to the IDU's strike announcement

We understand that members may be concerned about a potential strike at the AA.

Let me start to address this by quoting from one of our patrols, who put out this message on Twitter:

"Members should rest assured that the majority of AA Patrols will continue the proud tradition of serving members at the roadside."

The union operating at the AA, the Independent Democratic Union (IDU), has announced its intention to run a two-day strike on May 2-3. We continue to believe that a strike, over new pension proposals, would be totally counter-productive and unnecessary, and can still be averted.

However we would like to reassure members that if a strike went ahead, a robust contingency plan would swing into action and service would still be offered.

Andrew Strong CEO of the AA Nobody would be left stranded at the roadside. In the recent ballot, a majority of AA patrols either voted against strike action or did not vote at all. Service to members is in our patrols' blood and we expect that in the event of a strike, a good number would still be in the field. Combining their efforts with our contingency plans, it would be business as usual.

We are encouraged that only a minority of patrols balloted have opted to vote for strike action, with the majority voting No or not voting. The pension proposals we have put forward are very good for AA employees; indeed, many AA members will no longer have access to the type of defined-benefit scheme that we are trying to retain.

The AA proposes to put in 40 per cent more than previously. If the organisation was truly driven by private equity-style cost-cutting, as some allege, we could instead choose to close the scheme and set up a low-cost alternative, saving £14m a year.

We don't feel that there is any dispute between the AA and its patrols – they also want a good pension scheme. But their union has not made alternative proposals and is misleading their members. We think that the union should see sense and realise that the majority of AA staff do not want to strike over the changes proposed to the pension scheme.

The pension issue is not unique to the AA and indeed we believe that by proposing to keep open our defined benefit scheme, we are offering a good deal for our valued staff.

AA members were highly understanding and appreciative of our efforts to maintain service during the recent severe winter. We demonstrated then that providing service to members is at the heart of what the AA is about, and should a strike go ahead, you can be sure that we will pull out all the stops to keep serving members.


14 April 2010