RMT union members balloting over First Great Western train strike

Joe Hall
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RMT say it has had no "satisfactory solutions" to issues raised with First Great Western (Source: Getty)

Rail workers union RMT has issued a ballot on potential strike action following a dispute with First Great Western bosses.

Read more: RMT is balloting London Underground members over a new strike

The ballot for strike action and action short of a strike for all First Great Western members is underway over what the union describes as threats to jobs and safety.

The union accuses the rail operator of "milking the rotten rail privatisation racket" and claims its bosses have failed to offer "satisfactory solutions" to a number of problems it says have been raised by the introduction of Hitachi Super Express Trains on their lines.

The new trains will provide express intra-city services in South-West England but RMT want assurances that there will be no job losses, that safety staff and buffet facilities will be present on every train and train maintenance will remain in-house.

Ballot papers for workers have now been dispatched and the vote is set to close on Tuesday 30 June.

General secretary Mick Cash explained:

RMT has made every effort to secure a series of very basic assurances from First Great Western over jobs, services and safety as a result of the introduction of the new Hitachi fleet and they have simply ignored thus. We therefore have no option but to ballot all staff for action to force the company to take this issue seriously.

RMT will be mobilising 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.

First Great Western boss Ben Rule has said that there would be "absolutely" no compulsory redundancies for current train workers or changes to pay or conditions of employment.

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