June 13 2012
RMT to ballot South West Trains staff for action as company reneges on Olympics arrangements
RAIL UNION RMT announced today that is to ballot staff on South West Trains for industrial action after the company reneged on Olympics agreements linked to this year’s pay settlement and attempted to impose a new regime that would force staff to work longer hours on extended services for nothing in return for the entire duration of the games.
This year’s pay agreement was accepted by staff following assurances from the company stating that there would minimal impact and that it would be “Business as Usual” during the Olympic/Paralympic period.
Recent developments show that his is clearly not the case as the company is now advertising additional trains and later running over the entire period. South West Trains (SWT) has hired extra rolling stock and has hired extra staff. Also, extra crews will be on standby, cleaners will have an increased work load, as will platform staff, ticket office staff, guards and the rest of the team.
SWT have issued no guarantees that existing rosters and agreed working patterns will be honoured without enforced overtime for all grades.RMT members report SWT managers admitting that an extra 80,000 passengers per day would be using Waterloo. SWT’s website confirms later running and additional services throughout the games periods including special timetables for the rowing at Eton and the sailing at Weymouth.
As a result RMT has declared a formal dispute and has begun preparations for a ballot for both strike action and action short of a strike.
RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said:
“Other train operators, notably Heathrow Express this week, have negotiated agreements with RMT that recognise the added pressures of the Olympics. South West Trains have taken a different approach, reneging on earlier agreements and instead trying to bully staff into accepting enforced increases to working hours and workload with nothing in return.
“RMT will not stand by and watch while agreements and procedures are trampled in the dirt purely in the interests of profit as SWT exploit the games for their own benefit at our member’s expense. We remain available for talks aimed at resolving this dispute and the ball is now firmly in the companies court.”