11 February 2015
RMT Press Office
Staff employed by the Settle and Carlisle Railway Development Company - providing at-seat catering on Northern Rail services between Carlisle and Settle are to take two more days of strike action on the 14th and 21st of February in a continuing row over compulsory redundancies. The action follows three rock-solid 24 hour strikes in December and in January which attracted wide ranging support and excellent media coverage for the RMT campaign.
All affected members have now been instructed to take a fourth and fifth phase of action by not booking on for any shifts that commence between:-
• 00.01 hours and 23:59 hours on Saturday 14th February 2015
• 00.01 hours and 23:59 hours on Saturday 21st March 2015
RMT’s grievance is with the Settle and Carlisle Development company - a company set up for sustainable and economic development along the line – who have declared the compulsory redundancy situation.
RMT is fully aware that the company is doing well financially - so there is no economic reason whatsoever for the redundancy situation. The company has also sited organisation changes in preparation for changes to rail franchises - but the specifications for those franchises have not even been announced yet let alone been awarded to an operator, making a nonsense of the company’s position.
The union described the redundancy announcement as a “kick in the teeth for hard-working and loyal staff” as RMT has a proud history being involved in the campaign to save the line and of supporting the development of the line and initiatives to see it grow. RMT has been extremely supportive of the trolley catering service because the union knows it enhances the passenger experience of the journey.
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:
“Firstly, I want to congratulate our members for their determination and solidarity in the previous waves of rock-solid action which attracted widespread support and media coverage. Despite those strikes it is crystal clear that the company still aren’t listening and we therefore have no option but to put on more action in the coming weeks.
“The last thing we expected on the historic Settle/Carlisle rail line was a compulsory redundancy situation - it seems the companies actions are at odds with their stated objectives leading them into a regrettable and wholly avoidable dispute with Britain's biggest rail union. This is a kick in the teeth for loyal and hard-working staff who have fought to save and develop this well-loved service.
“Astonishingly the company has sited potential rail franchise changes in 2016 as a reason for the compulsory redundancy now, when the specifications for the rail franchises are still not known and the franchises themselves will not actually be let for some considerable time.
“Despite numerous requests to look at alternatives to compulsory redundancy the company has pressed ahead . In these circumstances RMT has no option but to put on more action and the union remains available for further talks.”