Posted 10th August 2016 | No Comments

Holiday season strikes called on Eurostar

THE RMT has called a series of strikes on Eurostar this month, in a dispute over the work-life balance of 80 train managers.

The strikes will be staged between 12 and 15 August, coinciding with the Assumption Day holiday in France and Belgium on 15 August, and again between 27 and 29 August over the bank holiday weekend in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Eurostar said the walkouts would mean only 'small changes' to its timetables.

The union claims Eurostar has failed to honour a 2008 agreement about staff conditions. RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: "Our train manager members at Eurostar have a heavy commitment to shift work and unsocial hours and are sick and tired of the company's failure to honour agreements.

"Our members have every right to have a fair work-life balance that fulfils the operational needs of the company while guaranteeing quality time off for friends and family.

"It's now time for Eurostar to come to the negotiating table with a set of proposals that honours our agreements and guarantees our members a genuine work-life balance."

It has emerged that Eurostar had been preparing for possible industrial action. A spokesman said: "On the days of the strike we have made some small changes to our timetable to ensure that all passengers booked to travel will be able to on those days. Passengers affected will be notified in advance."

The strikes will be the latest in a series which have been taking place since the spring on ScotRail and Southern, while RMT members on Virgin Trains East Coast have also just voted in favour of industrial action in a dispute over staffing changes.

There has been a gleam of hope on Southern, where a five-day conductors' strike over driver-only operation has entered its third day. The RMT has offered to suspend its action from tomorrow if Southern's owner Govia Thameslink Railway agrees to a resumption of talks 'without preconditions'.

Labour's shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald has voiced his support, saying: "I am today asking the transport secretary Chris Grayling to join with us in urging GTR to urgently accept the offer of RMT to enter into immediate unconditional talks to secure a resolution of the Southern rail dispute.

"If they do that, the industrial action scheduled for Thursday and Friday of this week can be immediately suspended.

“All he needs to do is pick up the phone to GTR and rail services can be restored in time for tomorrow's rush hour.

“He needs to act immediately. The long suffering passengers will not understand why a Government Minister would do anything other than encourage all parties to embrace this opportunity."