East Coast trains staff to strike on Bank Holiday

Rail worker Mark Doughty who was sacked by East Coast. Picture: Greg Macvean

Rail worker Mark Doughty who was sacked by East Coast. Picture: Greg Macvean

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MORE than 200 train staff are set to stage a 24-hour strike on Bank Holiday Monday in support of a colleague sacked for telling the truth.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union on East Coast trains will walk out for 24 hours.

The staff work as on-board train managers and catering managers on trains in and out of the station, including the intercity route to London King’s Cross.

The Evening News revealed in February how Mr Doughty, 39, from Gilmerton, a rail worker for nearly 14 years, had been fired for explaining to first-class passengers on an early-morning train from Edinburgh to London that they were not being served a full cooked breakfast because of a staff shortage and a broken boiler.

East Coast management claimed he had brought the company into disrepute. But even the passenger who lodged an official complaint about the service – which saw customers offered “disgusting” paninis – was horrified to hear of the sacking and said he found it “hard to believe a member of staff can simply be dismissed for telling the truth to insistent passengers like myself”.

A one-day walk-out planned for Good Friday was called off after management agreed to a “director’s review” – a last-ditch appeal – but the union said the company had refused to consider reinstatement.

Monday’s strike will involve on-board train managers and catering managers on trains in and out of Waverley, including the inter-city route to London King’s Cross.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “The decision to take industrial action has not been taken lightly.

“RMT agreed to suspend the previous industrial action in good faith, in order to pursue a director’s review. We were determined to right this outrageous injustice of a member fired for telling passengers the truth.

“At the director’s review the union’s negotiating team put forward new and constructive ideas to find a resolution to this dispute. However, the company failed to see this as an opportunity to negotiate and refused to contemplate reinstating our member.

“There is not a shred of doubt that this dismissal was unfair and a travesty of justice. It was hoped management would see sense and agree to resolve this matter. Regretfully this did not happen and as a result the union has been forced into pursuing industrial action.”

He said the union remained available for talks.

A spokesman for Virgin Trains East Coast said: “We’re disappointed at this decision to push ahead with action despite extensive efforts to bring this matter to a conclusion.

“This action would only affect a number of Edinburgh-based staff and our services will run as normal, so passengers shouldn’t be

concerned.”

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