Management / Caledonian Sleeper rail staff to strike over claims of 'train defects'
Caledonian Sleeper rail staff to strike over claims of 'train defects'
16 December 2015
Workers on the Caledonian Sleeper rail service are to stage a 48-hour strike in a row over claims of defects on trains.
Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union will walk out at 6.30pm on December 22 until the same time on Christmas Eve.
The union said sleeper services will be affected by the stoppage.
Union members backed walkouts and other forms of industrial action by 9-1 in a ballot.
The RMT has accused operator Serco of failing to fix faults on the service between Scotland and London.
General secretary Mick Cash said: “The poor service to passengers, in conjunction with the company’s failure to address the issues raised by RMT representatives and officials in recent talks, reached the point where the union decided enough is enough and left us with no option but to ballot for industrial action before someone is injured.
“The sleeper franchise was awarded to Serco by the Scottish Government and the multinational privateer took over from First Group on March 31 this year. Our members have been unhappy with Serco’s management of the iconic service from Scotland to London since the very early days of them taking on this 15-year franchise.
“This is yet another example of Serco winning public sector contracts and failing to deliver for the taxpayer, passengers and staff.”
The union claimed there were more than 200 defects on trains – including smoke detectors disconnected, toilets being inoperable, and lighting and heating systems not working.
Air conditioning problems throughout the summer left passengers sweltering in the sleeping berths, said the RMT, adding there was no hot water in some coaches for hand washing.
Officials claim there has been a loss of power in coaches during some journeys, leaving staff having to find alternative accommodation during the night for passengers.
Peter Strachan, managing director of the Caledonian Sleeper, said: “While we are disappointed that the RMT has voted in favour of industrial action and action short of a strike, we have not yet received notification from the RMT of their intention.
“Christmas is one of the busiest times of the year for the Caledonian Sleeper service and we therefore remain hopeful that we can minimise any disruption to guests.”
Peter Strachan, managing director of Caledonian Sleeper, said: “We are extremely disappointed and frustrated that the RMT has decided to push ahead with industrial action in the run up to Christmas.
“This is one of the busiest times of the year and this action is clearly intended to cause maximum disruption to our guests who are trying to get home for Christmas.
“We held three days of talks at Acas with the RMT and the issues that they have raised have either been resolved or are in the process of being resolved through a robust and detailed repair and maintenance plan.
“We remain open to discussion to avoid any disruption to guests.”
Photo © Ed Webster (CC BY 2.0). Cropped.