Third wave of strikes on Heathrow Express and Connect

Third wave of strikes on Heathrow Express and Connect

29 May 2014

RMT Press Office

RMT declares third wave of strike action on Heathrow Express and Heathrow Connect

RAIL UNION RMT today confirmed a third wave of strike action across Heathrow Express as a dispute over a package of multi-million pound cuts which amount to an all-out assault on pay, jobs and safety continues with the company refusing point-blank to address a series of safety-critical issues raised by the union.

As a result of the management’s continued failure to satisfactorily resolve this dispute, and in order to defend our members jobs and livelihoods, RMT’s executive has called for further industrial action and all Heathrow Express members have been instructed to take strike action as follows:

Not to book on for any shifts that commence between:

  • 03.00 hours on Wednesday 4th June 2014 until 02.59 hours on Thursday 5th June 2014

RMT members are furious that Heathrow Express plans to re-organise its workforce indicating that, in an attempt to save £6 million over the next five years, some 201 jobs are now placed under threat of redundancy, representing around half of the current workforce.The attack on jobs and working conditions comes as a direct result of the decision of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to cut £600 million from the Heathrow Airport budget over the same period.

The union has warned that the cuts would leave the vital Heathrow services vulnerable to terrorist attack with the eyes and ears of the operation, the staff on the trains, thrown onto the scrapheap to protect company profits.

RMT has rubbished claims by the company that they ran anything other than a limited, shuttle service for PR purposes on Heathrow Express during the previous strike action with Heathrow Connect closed down entirely.

RMT Acting General Secretary Mick Cash said:

“Despite the bogus claims from the company and the media hype the fact is that the previous two phases of strike action were solidly supported by the staff and the HEX service was reduced down to a skeleton operated by scab managers, with limited training, while Heathrow Connect was closed entirely. Using the genuine safety concerns of the staff as a backdrop for a cheap publicity shot speaks volumes about the shabby attitude of the top Heathrow Express bosses.

“Instead of cooking up phoney passenger numbers and ghost-train timetables the management should be round the table addressing the fundamental issues of jobs, pay and safety at the heart of this dispute. It is outrageous that the company are refusing point blank to address the issues that we have raised with them.

“The Heathrow Express and Heathrow Connect services are dealing with growing demand as the airport expands and the idea that safety and service is going to be sacrificed at the stroke of an accountant’s pen would shame London and leave these high-profile services extremely vulnerable.  The CAA themselves have warned that the staffing cuts are a false economy which will hit revenues as service quality drops through the floor.

“The removal of on board staff, and the driving forwards of Driver Only Operation, would render services inherently unsafe and make evacuation in the wake of an emergency incident or terrorist alert an absolute nightmare.

“The planned axing of jobs, and the associated freezing and hacking back of pay and working conditions, is a kick in the teeth for the staff who have made Heathrow Express and Heathrow Connect the success story that they are today. The staff have stood up and been counted and it is down to company to halt the cuts plans and start talking seriously about a safe and secure future for this vital London transport link.”

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Tagged with: Heathrow Express, Strike Action