Train strike on cards say RMT union:
Train passengers across Gloucestershire could be hit with major disruption within days after union leaders announced they would ballot workers on a mass strike.
The RMT union members working for First Great Western will vote on industrial action across all grades – from train drivers to buffet carriage staff – as a dispute with First bosses escalates.
The union said it would ask members about strikes or other action after First were given another 23 months of running the West’s railways, which take train services from Paddington in London to Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, Bristol and Somerset.
The RMT said the dispute has been ‘on a range of issues’, including a ‘disproportionately high number of unfair dismissals, abuse of disciplinary procedures, breakdown of industrial relations, casualization and use of agency staff and what the union described as ‘a range of associated matters where First Great Western are treating staff abysmally’.
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“RMT FGW members have had enough of being kicked from pillar to post and management should be under no illusion that unless a satisfactory agreement is reached on all of these issues the union will continue with a campaign of industrial and political action until such time as the collapse in industrial relations is resolved,” said RMT boss Bob Crow.
“With First securing a highly lucrative extension to their Great Western contract last week there is no excuse for them to blame the failure to reach agreement on the uncertainty over the franchise. It is also clear as day that they have the money available now to employ adequate numbers of permanent staff and to treat them with dignity and respect in every workplace.
“Despite the award of the franchise extension, and despite the best efforts of RMT’s negotiators, there had been a further deterioration of industrial relations between RMT and First Great Western and the stack of issues we have identified amount to a catalogue of contempt that the company is clearly displaying for its most important asset – its staff,” he added.
Cleaning staff on FGW who are members of the RMT union begin a 24-hour walk-out tomorrow morning at 6am in a separate dispute over pay from their contract firm Mitie.