17 February 2015
RMT Press Office
RAIL UNION RMT confirmed today that it is to begin balloting all on-board East Coast members at Edinburgh Waverley for both strike action and action short of a strike over the sacking of a colleague for telling passengers the truth.
Crew leader Mark Doughty was dismissed by the company for telling angry passengers the truth about why they were being served sub-standard food on an early morning Edinburgh to London service. He made an on-train announcement explaining that due to staff shortages and a broken boiler the On-Board Crew could not provide first class customers with a full cooked breakfast.
East Coast management has claimed that this action brought the company into disrepute and therefore they decided to dismiss Mr Doughty – a claim that the union has branded as “a hideous distortion of the facts when in fact it should have been the company itself, and its management, which should have been under investigation for failing the travelling public.”
East Coast Trains have been repeatedly warned by union reps that they have been sending out under-staffed trains with broken boilers and other equipment. Instead of heeding and acting on those warnings the company have instead opted to scapegoat a member of staff who was only carrying out his responsibility to be honest and up-front with passengers angry that they could not access the hot food service that they had paid for.
In fact, the passenger who raised the initial complaint that was eventually twisted into a case against Mark, was appalled when contacted by the union to find that his raising with the company of their shortcomings had resulted in a hatchet-job against the staff member whose only crime was to tell the truth.
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said ;
“RMT is appalled that a legitimate complaint from a member of the public over the companies failings has been twisted and distorted by East Coast into a case against the member of staff whose only crime was tell to the truth about staff shortages and faulty equipment
“The unfair and disproportionate punishment meted out by management to Mark Doughty is a total miscarriage of justice. This is not a situation that can go unchallenged and as a result union’s executive committee has decided to ballot our all our On-Board East Coast members at Edinburgh Waverley for strike action and industrial action short of a strike, to force the company to re-employ Brother Doughty.
“Ballot papers will be dispatched from Monday 23rd February 2015 and the ballot will close on Tuesday 10th March 2015. The union remains available for talks aimed at rectifying this shocking miscarriage of justice.”