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Unions vote for two weekends of strikes over Eurostar work-life row

Eurostar services will face two weekends of major concurrent strike action as both RMT and TSSA rail unions voted to launch industrial action over a long-running safety dispute.

RMT members will strike over this weekend and the next totalling seven days of action. The first four days will take place from 12 to 15 August, whilst the other three will be staged during the bank holiday weekend from 27 to 29 August.

TSSA will strike for fewer days over the same two weekends: its members voted for strike action on 14 and 15 August, and over two days in the bank holiday weekend, from 28 to 29 August.

Transport secretary Chris Grayling was said to be “very disappointed” that unions kept calling strike action over “what appear to be pretty minor matters”, adding that the decision felt like “an excuse to be militant”.

But the unions argued that the debate over train managers’ work/life balance in terms of unsocial hours and duty rosters is safety-critical.

RMT’s general secretary, Mick Cash, said its train manager members are “sick and tired” of Eurostar’s “failure” to honour a work/life balance agreement made in 2008.

“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,” he added.

“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.”

Manuel Cortes, TSSA’s general secretary, agreed that there is still time to resolve the long-standing issue “if common sense prevails on Friday”, when union representatives will meet with Eurostar management.

A spokesman from Eurostar, which runs services between the capital and mainland Europe, said the company’s focus has been to seek a joint resolution with unions. However, he said some “small modifications” had already been made to its timetable on strike days to ensure passengers booked to travel can still do so.

The Eurostar strike was originally going to follow on the heels of a large five-day strike action on Southern services in the capital over drive-operated only services, but RMT called off the strike yesterday during its third day of demonstrations.


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Lutz   11/08/2016 at 23:38

They also have the right to join the dole. It is getting to the point that people will start suing the RMT for breach of human rights.

Jerry Alderson   12/08/2016 at 20:37

I did a return trip to Paris last week on new e320 train in a Standard Premier carriage. Very good train. They could have made better use of the new CIS. It didn't give any real-time info at all (no speed, no ETA, no LUL line status etc.). Apart from train itself the passenger experiecne continues to call in my iopinio. Standard Premier (wen it was Leisure Select) used to have hot meals and champagne. Both have gone along with a non-business premier class reward scheme that gave you lounge access. However, they still had starter, main course and dessert. Now the starter has been dropped. Staff only came through carriage twice, so I only got two drinks. Standard Premier has gone from being superior to being poor value (£20-£60 extra each way) in my humble opinion. A lot of money for a bit of elbow room. The Wi-Fi gave up outside of London and reverted to an apology message. It really should be continuous for the whole journey. Train very good. Rest not great.

Jerry Alderson (Fix Typo On Previous)   12/08/2016 at 20:39

Sorry... Apart from the train itself the passenger experience continues to fall in my opinion.

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