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Wednesday, 1 July 2015

RMT votes for industrial action on First Western Trains over new trains safety and staffing fears

Julian Bray 01733 345581
New trains arriving from Japan, to be fitted out inside the UK and not all interiors identical or to the same options..  




It seems the taxpayer funded new train sets for Virgin East Coast and First Weston although both from the same manufacturer Hitachi and externally identical in shape will have very different interiors. FWT will not have a buffet car or counter, and there are also safety issues over staffing. This is the statement released by RMt. clearly not very happy:

RAIL UNION RMT’s  ballot for both strike action and action short of a strike of all First Great Western members over the threat to jobs and safety from the introduction of the new Hitachi Inter-City trains has recorded overwhelming votes in favour.

Strike action – 80% yes vote

Action short of a strike – 92% yes vote

The issues behind the dispute are simple.

At the end of May the union confirmed that it had entered into dispute with First Great Western over the introduction of Super Express Trains on their franchise. We made it clear that RMT were seeking the following assurances from management to resolve this matter:-

•    To keep a safety competent Guard on every train.
•    To keep safety critical station Despatch staff.
•    To keep buffet car facilities on every train.
•    To ensure that the maintenance of new rolling stock remains in-house.
•    No job losses.

These issues have been raised with the company by union representatives on numerous occasions, however no satisfactory solutions have been proposed by management to resolve this situation. Therefore, RMT’s executive decided to ballot all First Great Western members for strike action and industrial action short of a strike over this matter. That vote has now concluded and the union’s executive will consider the overwhelming mandate for action and will issue a further statement in due course.


 RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:

“RMT has made every effort to secure a series of very basic assurances from FGW over jobs, services and safety as a result of the introduction of the new Hitachi fleet and they have simply ignored us. We therefore had no option but to ballot all staff for action to force the company to take this issue seriously and the members have now voted decisively for action. That mandate will now be considered by the union.

“It is frankly ludicrous that East Coast, who are introducing the same trains, have given us the assurances we are seeking but FGW have ignored us and are crashing ahead with the ripping out of buffet cars and the threat to safety-critical station and train staff purely to maximise the profits from new trains bought for them by the British taxpayer.

“RMT has mobilised a public campaign to expose this shabby and profiteering treatment of both passengers and staff alike by a company that already has one of the worst reputations in the industry for milking the rotten rail privatisation racket for every penny they can. RMT remains available for talks and we expect the company to now take this dispute, and the issues at the heart of it, seriously.”




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