RMT slams Heathrow Express over strike service “lies”

RMT slams Heathrow Express over strike service “lies”

20 May 2014

RMT Press Office

RAIL UNION RMT today slammed Heathrow Express for “concocting a pack of lies” over claims that they will run a “normal” service during strike action starting on Friday and continuing during the Bank Holiday weekend.

May 20th 2014

Immediate

 

RMT slams Heathrow Express over strike service “lies”

 

RAIL UNION RMT today slammed Heathrow Express for “concocting a pack of lies” over claims that they will run a “normal” service during strike action starting on Friday and continuing during the Bank Holiday weekend.

 

Far from a “normal” service the truth is:

 

  • There will no Heathrow Connect services at all

 

  • Transfer services to Heathrow Terminals will be cut to the bare bones

 

  • Main Heathrow Express services, run by managers with limited experience, will be cut by at least a half and will be unreliable and run more as a PR stunt than a passenger service.

 

RMT has been forced to confirm a further wave of strike action across Heathrow Express this weekend in response to a package of multi-million pound cuts which amount to an all-out assault on pay, jobs and safety and a continued failure by the company to address a series of safety-critical issues raised by the union.

 

Following a massive nine to one vote for action covering all grades, and a rock solid 48 hours of strike action last month, RMT has instructed Heathrow Express members not to book on for any shifts between:

 

  • 03.00 hours on Friday 23rd May 2014 until 02.59 hours on Saturday 24th May 2014
  • 03.00 hours on Monday 26th May 2014 until 02.59 hours on Tuesday 27th May 2014

 

Furthermore, all Heathrow Express members have been instructed to take industrial action short of a strike as outlined below:-

 

  • Not to work any rest days or overtime from 03.00 hours Saturday 24th May 2014 until 02.59 hours on Monday 26th May 2014

 

The action, over the spring bank-holiday period, will lead to major disruption to services on one of Heathrow’s busiest weekends despite the claims from the company. RMT has also raised serious concerns about a concerted attempt by managers to isolate and bully staff into working through the action – tactics that have backfired and only hardened the solidarity of the workforce.

 

RMT members are furious that Heathrow Express plans to re-organise its workforce indicating that, in an attempt to save £6 million over the next five years, some 201 jobs are now placed under threat of redundancy, representing around half of the current workforce.The attack on jobs and working conditions comes as a direct result of the decision of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to cut £600 million from the Heathrow Airport budget over the same period.

 

The union has warned that the cuts would leave the vital Heathrow services vulnerable to terrorist attack with the eyes and ears of the operation, the staff on the trains, thrown onto the scrapheap to protect company profits.

 

RMT Acting General Secretary Mick Cash said:

 

“It does no one any favours, least of all the many thousands of passengers travelling in and out of Heathrow this Bank Holiday weekend, for Heathrow Express to spin a pack of lies about running a “normal” service when the truth is quite the opposite. It misleads the public and piles intolerable and dangerous levels of pressure on the ghost-train services that they will be attempting to operate with a limited pool of scab labour.

 

“Despite the bogus claims from the company and the media hype the fact is that the last wave of strike action was solidly supported by the staff and the HEX service was reduced down to a skeleton operated by scab managers, with limited training, while Heathrow Connect was closed entirely. Instead of cooking up phoney passenger numbers and ghost-train timetables the management should be round the table addressing the fundamental issues of jobs, pay and safety at the heart of this dispute.

 

 “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.”

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Tagged with: Heathrow Express, Strike Action