RMT slams First Great Western over “total pack of lies”

RMT slams First Great Western over “total pack of lies”

28 July 2014

RMT Press Office

RAIL UNION RMT today blasted First Great Western for “spinning a total pack of lies” over the future of catering services on its trains. The union anger has come from a blatant PR puff in a local newspaper in Wales that attempts to create the impression that axing buffet cars and replacing them with trolleys is somehow a return to the “golden age” of rail.

In fact, in their own press release on the subject, buried away in the small print, FGW’s real intentions are laid bare:
“Longer term, we are also considering the re-introduction of a retail trolley in Standard class coaches, and an-seat service at weekends in First Class.”
That means the abolition of the buffet cars.
RMT has already launched a major 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 maintains 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.
“For First Great Western to try and spin the axing of the Travelling Chef service, and the replacement of the buffet cars with trolleys on the vast majority of their services, as some kind of return to the “Golden Age” of rail is an extraordinary act of misrepresentation of the facts.
“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.”


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