13 November 2015
RMT Press Office
Rail union RMT confirmed today that it is to begin the process of balloting members on the Caledonian Sleeper in a dispute with new operator Serco.
Despite several meetings between RMT negotiators and senior company management over the last few months the union has now been forced into informing the company it has no choice other than to proceed to ballot members over the company's failure to address the number of defects contained within the rolling stock.
The union says that some of the defects are potentially dangerous to the staff on board and the travelling public who are paying top dollar prices for a service which is unreliable, increasingly uncomfortable and riddled with health, safety and welfare issues.
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said;
"The poor service to passengers, in conjunction with the company's failure to address the issues raised by RMT representatives and officials over several months, has now reached the point where the union has decided enough is enough and we will now proceed to ballot for industrial action before someone is injured.
"The sleeper franchise was awarded to Serco by the Scottish Government and the multi national privateer took over from First Group on March 31st this year. Our members have been unhappy with Serco's management of the iconic service from Scotland to London since the very early days of them taking on this fifteen year franchise. This is yet another example of Serco winning public sector contracts and failing to deliver for the tax payer, passengers and staff. "
Mick Cash went on to say Serco's failings to run a rail service should be a wake up call to the Scottish Government in advance of the announcement of the winner of the lifeline ferry service on Scotland's west coast currently delivered by the public sector through Calmac ferries.
"The Scottish Government must pay heed to the warnings from RMT and opposition politicians about the broken promises from Serco on their deliverance of public transport and ensure the announcement regarding the award of the Clyde and Hebridean Ferry Service is made in advance of the Scottish parliamentary elections next May. "
"Serco is a company who are specialists in failure when it comes to public sector contracts and RMT has no intention of allowing them to get away with compromising the safety of staff and passengers on the sleeper service."