21 October 2014
RMT Press Office
RAIL UNION RMT today pledged to fight plans to axe the on-board chef facility on Arriva Trains Wales North/South services and has written to the Welsh Assembly calling for the their intervention to halt the cutting of the service and the associated threat to jobs.
Arriva Trains Wales have sought to blame the cut to the catering facilities on the Welsh Assembly with RMT deeply concerned that staff livelihoods are being caught in the middle of a row as the company seek to lump the blame on the politicians.
In the letter to Edwina Hart, the transport minister, RMT says:
“We are writing to you because I have just been informed this week that Arriva Trains Wales is removing the Chef service from the North / South Train service with the loss of a number of jobs. As you will appreciate the union is deeply concerned about the loss of these jobs and the impact for our members. ATW have informed RMT that this cut is due to financial cuts from the Welsh assembly to this service.
“RMT believes that this change to the current catering arrangements will have a very significant impact on the service and possibly lead to less people using the service which could threaten its future. Replacing a freshly cooked food option with a microwave for such a long journey may well mean less people will be attracted to using the service and actually cost money in ticket sale reductions. The current Chef service has been award winning and well thought of in the industry, perhaps the cooked meal service could have been extended to standard class travellers as well in a newly launched ' open Restaurant car ' as an option to help pay for itself.”
With the franchise due for renewal in 2017, and with the promise of the consideration of a “not for profit” option, RMT cannot see any justification whatsoever in cash-led cuts to jobs and services being imposed three years away from what may mark a major change to the nature of the franchise.
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said ;
“RMT is appalled at this latest attack on rail catering services coming shortly after First Great Western proposed the axing of their own travelling chef service. The union will not stand back while our members jobs and futures are caught in the middle of a financial row as the company seek to lump the blame on the Welsh Assembly.
“We have written to Edwina Hart at the Welsh Assembly calling for their intervention to halt this loss of an important part of the passenger service and we are awaiting what we hope will be a positive response.