RAIL UNION RMT today demanded that First Great Western immediately drop their threat to axe guards and buffet cars from the new Hitachi trains after Virgin East Coast, who will be using the same new fleet units, gave the union a cast-iron assurance that there will no threat to jobs, safety and services on their trains.
The Virgin East Coast assurances meet the union calls on all of the following key points:
The company had provided further commitments to future meetings to discuss the TUPE transfer of Fleet Maintenance members to Hitachi/Agility Trains and to explore all options to bring back the ISS cleaning contract into direct employment upon expiry of the contract. – covering two further areas that are key to RMT’s on-going campaigning.
RMT is currently preparing a strike ballot on First Great Western over the company’s continuing refusal to offer the same assurances on their new trains which have now been secured from Virgin East Coast. RMT has written again to FGW setting out the terms of the agreement with Virgin East Coast and calling on them to stop dragging their heels and to match it line for line.
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said ;
“The case for First Great Western to match the commitments to their staff that RMT has now secured from Virgin East Coast is now overwhelming. These are the same trains, providing similar Inter-City services and if it is good enough for jobs, services and safety to be protected on the East Coast then it is good enough for the Great Western routes as well.
“RMT has been campaigning for months to fight plans that could lead to the axing of buffet cars, on-board staff and maintenance workers on First Great Western when the new trains arrive, with a series of events in response to the moves which the union has blasted as “ushering in an “Upstairs-Downstairs” service on Inter-City services while British passengers pay the highest fares in Europe.”
“RMT is continuing preparations for a ballot for action as we will not tolerate a situation where our members jobs are left hanging by a thread and the safety and quality of service to the passengers is compromised at every turn.
“RMT has written again to FGW today calling them to match the sensible and safety-orientated assurances that we have secured from Virgin East Coast and there can be no grounds whatsoever for First Group to continue to dig their heels in on this issue in the face of simple common sense.”
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