27 August 2015
RMT Press Office
Strike action to go ahead this weekend on First Great Western as company continues to fail to address core issues.
RAIL UNION RMT said today that strike action in the dispute with First Great Western will go ahead as planned this weekend as the company continues to fail to offer clear-cut assurances on the core issues impacting on staff and passengers from the introduction of the new fleet of Hitachi inter-city trains.
The action is as follows:
All Grades (Excluding Fleet Maintenance Members)
• 00.01 hours on Saturday 29th August 2015 and 23.59 hours on Monday 31st August 2015
All Fleet Maintenance grade members are instructed not to book on for any shifts that commence between:-
• 00.01 hours and 23.59 hours on Saturday 29th August 2015
• 00.01 hours and 23.59 hours on Monday 31st August 2015
All Fleet Maintenance grade members will be instructed to take discontinuous industrial action short of a strike as outlined below: -
• Not to work any overtime or rest days between 00.01 hours and 23:59 hours on Sunday 30th August 2015
The action follows a rock solid 48 hour strike last month and 24 hours of action last Sunday which led to widespread disruption to services. The issues in dispute remain the same:
• Lack of assurances over TUPE and job protection on Engineering Grades
• The proposed introduction of Driver Only Operation (DOO) with door operation procedures to transfer from the Guard to Driver. This is a clear dilution of the important role of the Guard and the crucial role of safety critical platform staff for safe incoming and departure of trains at stations and is contrary to RMT policy.
• The proposed removal of buffet/restaurant car facilities remains in place with nothing other than an undertaking by FGW to endeavour to modify the design of AT300 rolling stock to accommodate a buffet.
While Virgin East Coast Trains have committed to safe running of services with Guards responsible for door operation and dispatch staff on stations FGW – using exactly the same rolling stock – continue to refuse. The key pledge from Virgin East Coast is that:
“The existing duties of the guard will continue and the role will maintain responsibility for the safety of customers and staff on every train.”
That is the assurance that, despite strenuous efforts from RMT negotiators, FGW refuse to match.
The union has made it clear that it will continue to defend jobs, services and safety for all grades on First Great Western and as a result that is why there has been no option but to press ahead with the strike dates and industrial action this weekend.
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:
“Despite strenuous and continuing efforts by our negotiators we have not been able to secure the kind of progress we hoped for in the key areas of jobs, services and safety for us to reach an agreement.
“As a result we have no option but to push ahead with the action planned for this weekend.
“The fact remains that if it is good enough for East Coast, using the same trains, to meet the very basic assurances sought by this trade union then it is good enough for First Great Western as well.
“We congratulate our members for their rock solid support for the strike action last month and last weekend and we know that they remain united and determined as we continue with our campaign on these crucial issues. RMT remains available for talks.”