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08.07.15

FGW services to be ‘significantly’ affected by RMT strike action

First Great Western (FGW) services will be “significantly” affected from tonight as RMT members begin their 48-hour strike over proposals to introduce the new fleet of super express trains from 2017.

Thousands of rail workers will walkout from 6.30pm this evening with rail services affected until the start of service on Saturday 11 July. 

FGW has stated that an overtime ban on Saturday 11 July could also mean late notice changes or possible cancellations. 

RMT members working for FGW voted to strike after failing to reach assurances over jobs, which they fear are under threat from the introduction of new Hitachi InterCity Express Programme ‘Super Express’ Class 800/1 trains from 2017. 

Out of those voting, 80% of the RMT union's First Great Western members voted to strike in a dispute relating to the new Hitachi Inter-City trains. The union say First Great Western have refused to give "very basic assurances" about passenger safety and jobs. 

Earlier this week, “crisis talks” were held between RMT and FG, but the union said “no acceptable offer” was tabled and therefore talks have broken down. 

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: "RMT has made every effort to secure a series of very basic assurances from FGW over jobs, services and safety as a result of the introduction of the new Hitachi fleet and they have shown no intention of addressing those issues.” 

The strike over the new fleet of super express trains, to be introduced from 2017, coincides with the union's planned industrial action on the Tube

Mark Hopwood, managing director of First Great Western, said: “Earlier this week we proposed additional commitments to address the concerns of the RMT and our colleagues, while still allowing us to deliver the improved service you, our customers, expect from a 21st century railway. 

"We had hoped this would be enough to avoid strike action, but unfortunately, the RMT did not endorse these proposals, so it is likely that strike action will affect our services from this evening to early Saturday this week.” 

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