Business groups hit out at RMT's Eurostar strike

James Nickerson
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St Pancras International Station Begins Its Eurostar Service
London First said the RMT appears determined to become public enemy number one (Source: Getty)

The business community has slammed a union behind the strike scheduled to take place on Eurostar.

The RMT union has said its members will strike from 12 to 15 and 27 to 29 August, while TSSA members will strike on 14, 15, 28 and 29 August.

The news comes after RMT said its members on Virgin East Coast Main line voted for industrial action, while misery continues on Southern Rail.

Read more: RMT offers to suspend Southern strike - if it gets what it wants

After the news broke, the business community questioned the tactics of the RMT union in particular, saying they are determined to turn themselves into the UK's public enemy.

David Leam, infrastructure director of business group London First, said: “The RMT seems determined to make themselves public enemy number one. Britain should be nurturing its commercial links with the continent not cutting ourselves from it.”

Meanwhile, chief executive of London Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Colin Stanbridge said: “At a time where London and the rest of the UK is emphasising the need to be recognised as open for business, RMT’s decision to go on strike is very disappointing and will inevitably be damaging to the economy.”

Read more: Virgin train workers have also voted for strike, RMT says

The union says the dispute centres on Eurostar’s "failure to honour an agreement from 2008 which sought to ensure that train managers could expect a good work-life balance in terms of unsocial hours and duty rosters".

"RMT members voted massively in favour of strike action on the basis that Eurostar had failed to honour their commitments and the fact that work-life balance was being repeatedly undermined," RMT said.

On the RMT's website it said that 55 members had been balloted, with 52 voting that they would be prepared to strike, with 48 members supporting action short of a strike.

Transport secretary Grayling said: "This feels like an excuse to be militant and it's an extraordinary contrast. We're announcing a massive programme of modernisation of the railways, improving the situation for passengers.

"At the same time we have the unions trying to turn the clock back and hang on to working practices that are decades out of date. Passengers should not be made to suffer like this."

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