24 July 2015
RMT Press Office
Anger grows as it emerges that Rail Gourmet knew they were losing Southern trolley contract three months ago.
RAIL UNION RMT revealed today that Rail Gourmet were told three months ago by Southern/TSGN that their catering trolley services were to be axed this weekend sparking even more anger over the fact that the company left it until this week to inform the union and staff that they would be sacked tomorrow throwing over 70 low paid staff out of a job.
RMT reps have now been told by Southern/TSGN that they are surprised that it has taken Rail Gourmet so long to tell their staff that they are being sacked this weekend – time that could have been used to help those workers find new jobs.
Southern/TSGN have said that the termination of the catering contract is a part of the transfer into the new, expanded Thameslink franchise as they intend to run no more trollies on their trains even though they are operating services in excess of two hours from the south coast to London and on a number of other routes. Over 70 staff are involved.
The existing Southern franchise ends 26th and the new merged Thameslink/Southern/Great Northern franchise starts up over the weekend ready for Monday morning with all of the RMT Rail Gourmet members sacked tomorrow. In a further ludicrous twist Rail Gourmet have offered consultation on the dismissals on the 27th – two days after the staff have actually been sacked and three months after that consultation could have started back in April.
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:
“It is scandalous that Rail Gourmet were apparently told back in April that they were losing the Southern trolley contract and yet chose to keep that information from the unions and the workforce and instead sacked them at four days notice with effect from tomorrow. This disgraceful move is an attack on both our low paid members and the services that they provide to the travelling public and has been handled in the most shocking fashion.
“The fact that is all bound up in the franchising process speaks volumes about how rail privatisation impacts on staff and passengers alike in the drive for profits.
“RMT believes that both Rail Gourmet and Southern/TSGN now have a clear duty to find these staff suitable alternative employment.”