Posted 8th October 2020 | 3 Comments

RMT prepares for second Caledonian Sleeper strike

Updated 16.40

THE RMT union has warned that its second 48-hour strike on Caledonian Sleeper is set to go ahead on Sunday, having accused the sleeper operator SERCO of a ‘point blank refusal to engage in talks with union officials over the fundamental issues of fatigue and safety’.

The union said it had been ‘prepared to negotiate from the outset‘, but that the company had ‘stonewalled’. SERCO, meanwhile, said it had offered to take part in talks at ACAS.

The dispute concerns the provision of berths on board the trains for staff to use during rest periods, and also the problem of fatigue which results from their absence.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: ‘It is appalling that SERCO have stonewalled every opportunity to resolve this dispute since last Sunday’s rock-solid action and that failure on the company’s part leaves them wholly responsible for the cancellation of services again this weekend.’

He continued: ‘It is a total dereliction of duty on the part of the political leadership in Scotland that they have not lifted a finger to help find a resolution to this high profile industrial dispute and have left SERCO to ride roughshod over both staff and passenger safety. 

‘A clear message has been sent to management by their staff and it is now time for the SERCO management to respond in a meaningful and positive way to the serious safety issues at the heart of this dispute.‎’

Caledonian Sleeper managing director Ryan Flaherty said: ‘We have decided we will operate a Lowlander service on the evenings of 11 and 12 October in order to maintain some of the vital transport links we provide between Scotland and London. This reduced service will run between Edinburgh and London, with safety-critical staff in place as normal and supported by trained guest experience staff.

‘It remains deeply frustrating that this unjustified industrial action is going ahead. At all times, we have sought to address concerns raised in a constructive manner. Indeed, less than a third of our workforce voted in favour of the action. Our offer to continue to engage with ACAS still stands and we remain committed to finding a resolution to this dispute.’

Reader Comments:

Views expressed in submitted comments are that of the author, and not necessarily shared by Railnews.

  • James martin, Glasgow

    The staff don’t realise that the sleeper is a loss maker and the Scottish Government might just get rid given the current economic climate and the conduct of the RMT. Particularly where the sleeper is concerned as the RMT use the staff as pawns in a bigger game. This is the 3rd dispute in 5 years and each time the reasons become more ridiculous But the staff follow The union like lemmings

  • Matthew Ellis, Woking

    ... meanwhile, EasyJet are thanking the RMT for removing the competition

  • Neil Palmer, Waterloo

    Oh dear. It seems poor old Mick still hasn't clued in that it's the government that IS making the decisions, not SERCO (or any other franchise holder). And it appears the government is happy to let things hang as they are for now. No surprise really. Takes a real genius to call a strike in the middle of a pandemic when passenger numbers are back at 1850s levels and the railways are haemorrhaging, er, Cash.