Rail workers to vote on strike action
8:58am Friday 11th October 2013 in News
A RAIL union is to vote on possible strike action amid disputes with First Great Western over what it has called the firm’s “abuse of procedures” and "contempt" for staff at every level.
RMT has announced it will hold an industrial action ballot, just one week after First Group secured a multi-million pound two-year roll-over of its Great Western franchise.
Union chiefs said a “disproportionately high number of unfair dismissals” and breakdown in relations had prompted the move.
RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said: “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.
“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.”
A First Great Western spokesman condemned union chiefs for "playing with their members' livelihoods".
"It is disappointing that RMT is once again playing with their members’ livelihoods by asking them to take strike action when discussions to resolve these issues have not yet run their course through the usual processes," he said.
"We provided written responses and proposed solutions months ago to many of the issues raised, which are without foundation, and we have yet to receive any reply from the RMT.
"Threats such as this risk giving the impression that RMT is more interested in playing political games than having sensible, constructive conversations about resolving these issues for their members and our colleagues. We look forward to hearing whether RMT will respond and take up our open offer to discuss these issues."
The date of the ballot is yet to be announced.
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