24 December 2014
RMT Press Office
RMT steps up New Year campaign against the introduction of “Upstairs- Downstairs” service on First Great Western
RAIL UNION RMT will be stepping up the campaign to fight plans that would lead to the axing of buffet cars, on-board staff and maintenance workers on First Great Western with a series of events on the 5th of January in response to moves the union has blasted as “ushering in an “Upstairs-Downstairs” service on Inter-City services while British passengers pay the highest fares in Europe.”
As part of the on-going RMT campaign to defend jobs, services and safety on First Great Western and East Coast events will take place on 5th January from 7.00 am until 9.00 am at Bath Spa, Bristol Temple Meads, Exeter, Paddington, Plymouth and Swansea protesting about the configuration of the new Inter City Fleet trains.
RMT has been battling against proposals for driver only operation and the removal of buffet cars and their replacement by a trolley service only catering facility, the sacking and reducing of the safety critical operational role of train guards /conductors as well as station de-staffing and ticket office closures. The union has also objected to proposals that could see the loss of skilled safety critical train maintenance jobs as part of the deal.
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said ;
“RMT will be hitting the ground running right from the start of the New Year with a ramping up of the campaign against cuts to jobs and services on First Great Western on the day that Britain gets back to business after the extended festive break
“This Government of the rich, for the rich and by the rich now intend to introduce an “Upstairs-Downstairs” service on Britain’s long haul rail services which would condemn the vast majority to pay through the nose to travel in rammed-out carriages where the catering trolley is jammed at one end while the elite glide through the country like extras from Downton Abbey . This move has got the stamp of Cameron, Osborne and the posh boys from the Bullingdon Club plastered all over it. RMT believes that all rail users deserve a high quality service and that means employing the staff to deliver that rather than cutting corners to maximise profits and targeting what’s left at the rich.
“RMT is throwing it’s full resources and industrial and political clout in 2015 behind the fight to stop this attack on jobs, services and safety arising from the introduction of the Inter-City fleet on both the East Coast and the Great Western routes. These new Hitachi trains have been explicitly commissioned by the Government to allow the sacking of on-board staff, the axing of buffet cars and have left a question mark hanging over the future of the existing maintenance depots.
“RMT’s campaign will point out the public that they have a massive stake in this drive to milk the Inter-City routes for every penny the private companies can extract. They would be forced to pay higher fares to travel on crowded and unsafe trains where they will struggle to even get a drink of water on a long haul journey. We will be calling on the passengers to join us in piling pressure on their MP’s to reverse this latest assault on rail services and jobs in the name of private greed.”