Plymouth rail workers may go on strike before Christmas
CRUCIAL talks are due to resume next week in a bid to prevent a strike causing rail misery for travellers just before Christmas.
On-board train staff have called a 24-hour walk-out for next Friday, December 21, on all CrossCountry trains over what they are calling a "comprehensive breakdown" in industrial relations.
The Rail Maritime and Transport Workers Union (RMT) and CrossCountry will gather around the table on Tuesday, December 18, in a bid to thrash out a solution.
The rail firm said it is confident of reaching agreement and is advising passengers not to alter travel plans.
The proposed strike – by train managers, senior conductors and on-board catering workers – would effect all CrossCountry services, including the hourly Plymouth to Edinburgh locomotive, which also serves Leeds and Newcastle.
The union said the proposed action has been "provoked" by issues including the use of the "unsatisfactory performance procedure" in relation to sales and target league tables, new rosters at Manchester Piccadilly, training on new technology, pay changes, and the disciplining of train managers for not turning up for work on a Sunday.
RMT general secretary Bob Crow said: "As a result of the total collapse of industrial relations across a whole raft of matters, we are in dispute with CrossCountry and the union has had no option but to ballot members for action and with a mandate secured we are pushing on with a 24-hour strike.
"We will continue to apply pressure on the company until all of these issues are resolved to our satisfaction."
He added: "RMT remains available for talks and we hope management will see sense and take the necessary steps to resolve this dispute."
CrossCounty bosses described the RMT's proposed action as "regrettable".
A spokesman said: "Discussions to resolve the issues raised by the union are ongoing and a meeting is already planned for Tuesday, where we are confident of a resolution.
"We would like to assure our customers we are preparing plans that, in the event a strike takes place, will ensure their journeys can still be completed.
"We will provide full details on Tuesday if there are any changes to services on December 21.
"Our advice at this time is for customers not to change their journey plans for December 21."