13 June 2014
RMT Press Office
RAIL UNION RMT today confirmed a fourth wave of industrial action across Heathrow Express after the company sabotaged ACAS talks and resorted to issuing blanket threats to sack hundreds of staff if they don’t call off their fight over a package of multi-million pound cuts which amount to an all-out assault on pay, jobs and safety.
Two days of talks at ACAS were effectively sabotaged by the company who refused to consider any proposals put forward by RMT negotiators, walked away before the talks had concluded and treated the entire negotiating process with nothing but contempt.
As a result, RMT has had no choice but to call a further wave of action, with members instructed not to book on for any shifts between;
• 12:00 hours on Thursday 19th June 2014 to 11:59 hours on Friday 20th June 2014.
And • 03:00 hours on Sunday 22nd June 2014 to 02:59 hours on Monday 23rd June 2014.
In a further escalation, members have been instructed to take discontinuous industrial action short of a strike in the form of refusing to work any overtime between the following hours: -
• 12:00 hours on Friday 20th June 2014 to 02:59 hours on Sunday 22nd June 2014.
• 03:00 hours on Monday 23rd June 2014 to 02:59 hours on Tuesday 24th June 2014.
• 03:00 hours on Saturday 28th June 2014 until 02:59 hours on Monday 30th June 2014.
• 03:00 hours on Saturday 5th July 2014 until 02:59 hours on Monday 7th July 2014.
In an aggressive and bullying move that confirms that the HEX strategy is simply about axing safety-critical staff to maximise profits, the company have now issued a statement threatening to start sacking workers involved in the action.
RMT Acting General Secretary Mick Cash said:
“Heathrow Express sabotaged the ACAS talks aimed at resolving this dispute and have now issued the most outrageous and provocative blanket threat to start sacking staff if they don’t call off the fight for jobs and safety on this lucrative and prestigious transport link. These staff provide an essential service out to one of the world’s busiest airports and yet the company have resorted to treating them like dirt. It is an outrage that exposes this company for the anti-union, greedy and callous bunch that they are.
“Our representatives put forward a viable framework for resolving this dispute and it wasn’t even considered by HEX who treated the entire ACAS process with contempt and that is why we are back out on strike next week. It is entirely down to the company that journeys and services will be disrupted.
“The Heathrow Express and Heathrow Connect services are dealing with growing demand as the airport expands and the idea that safety and service is going to be sacrificed at the stroke of an accountant’s pen would shame London and leave these high-profile services extremely vulnerable. The CAA themselves have warned that the staffing cuts are a false economy which will hit revenues as service quality drops through the floor.
“The removal of on board staff, and the driving forwards of Driver Only Operation, would render services inherently unsafe and make evacuation in the wake of an emergency incident or terrorist alert an absolute nightmare.
“The planned axing of jobs, and the associated freezing and hacking back of pay and working conditions, is a kick in the teeth for the staff who have made Heathrow Express and Heathrow Connect the success story that they are today. The staff have stood up and been counted and it is down to company to halt the cuts plans and start talking seriously about a safe and secure future for this vital London transport link.”