Caledonian Sleeper cancels all services during workers’ 11-day strike action

·2-min read

Caledonian Sleeper has announced it will cancel all services as workers go on strike for 11 days later this month over a pay dispute.

The Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union held a ballot claiming service operators Serco “attempted to impose a pay freeze on hardworking staff who have kept the service running throughout the Covid pandemic”.

Action will take place from 11.59am on Tuesday June 15 to 11.59am on Saturday June 26.

Serco, which operates the service, says the strike will cause “significant disruption to people booked to travel on board the overnight rail service between London and Scotland”.

Kathryn Darbandi, Serco’s managing director for Caledonian Sleeper, said: “The proposed strike action by the RMT is both unjustified and very disappointing, and will impact thousands of guests due to travel in the period at a time when we should all be working together to rebuild the Scottish economy.

“It will also harm our hard-working staff who will lose significant earnings as a result.

“Throughout the pandemic, we have protected staff, all of whom have received full pay even though our services have been significantly reduced.

“We have also been clear that we fully intend to resume pay talks next year, once the business is in a stronger position.

“We remain open to discussions aimed at resolving the dispute, but in the meantime, we have had no choice but to prepare for the strike to go ahead.

“Unfortunately, as a result we have taken the difficult decision to cancel our services. We’re sorry that guests will be affected by this strike action and are contacting them to arrange a full refund.”

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All staff grades were involved in the ballot, which returned an 85% vote in favour of a strike, with members also being instructed not to work any overtime or work on their rest day from 12pm on Saturday June 26.

It comes after two periods of strike action in October last year also led to services being cancelled.

The union is also accusing Serco of lying to passengers about engaging with the union in talks, suggesting they have been “stonewalling all attempts to get round the table”.

Mick Lynch, RMT general secretary, said: “Serco need to stop lying to passengers and giving false hope about talks when in fact none have taken place.

“The company need to get round the table for real so that we can negotiate a fair pay deal for our members who have kept the service running throughout the pandemic.

“This contempt towards a loyal and dedicated workforce is completely unacceptable and RMT will be backing them all the way.

“The union remains available for talks aimed at resolving this dispute.”

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