16 July 2014
RMT Press Office
RMT launches campaign on First Great Western to defend Travelling Chef services
RAIL UNION RMT today launched a campaign to defend Travelling Chef services on First Great Western after the company announced it was to scrap the service, and the jobs it supports, in a move that the union says is just a forerunner to an all-out assault in the name of profit in advance of the introduction of the new Intercity fleet of trains.
The Travelling Chef is one of the last full in-train meal services available on trains in the UK. They provide a range of breakfasts and other meals, served at the seat in First Class and available at the Café for other passengers.
RMT has been told that the services will be scrapped by November 2014. The union has begun preparing a range of campaigning materials and is mobilising a public and political campaign aimed at saving the Travelling Chef service.
Under the Intercity Express Programme (IEP) signed off by the Government, the new fleet, built in Japan and reassembled in the North East by Hitachi, has the capacity to run on Driver Only Operation – removing the guards – would strip out buffet cars to cram in more seats and could lead to the current in-house fleet maintenance being hived-off to a third party.
Mick Cash, RMT acting general secretary said.
“RMT is appalled at the attack by the highly-profitable First Great Western on the Travelling Chef service which is not only a kick in the teeth for staff but also shows complete and utter contempt for the quality of passenger services in the name of greed and profit
“RMT has made it crystal clear that we will fight to defend these services with every means at our disposal, that means an all-out publicity, political and industrial campaign that nobody will be able to ignore.
“The union wants the plans withdrawn and we also want assurances from both the company and the Government that catering services, guards and in-house maintenance arrangements will be protected when the new fleet of Intercity trains is introduced.”