Talks to avert Caledonian Sleeper strike break down

Talks to resolve planned industrial action by Caledonian Sleeper staff have stalled. Picture: Contributed

Talks to resolve planned industrial action by Caledonian Sleeper staff have stalled. Picture: Contributed

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TALKS to avert industrial action by rail workers on the Caledonian Sleeper service between Scotland and London have broken down, raising the prospect of a Christmas strike.

The RMT union said despite a number of meetings between its negotiators and senior management of operator Serco, progress has not been made on a raft of issues including claims of defects in rolling stock.

The two sides had met for talks at resolution body Acas but no agreement was reached.

Ballots opened at the start of December and RMT members employed by Serco will decide by December 15 whether to launch a campaign of industrial action.

• READ MORE: Caledonian Sleeper trains to trial Oban service

The union would have to give seven days notice of any action, raising the threat of a strike over Christmas.

Serco, which took over the franchise earlier this year, has said it is working hard to improve the service.

In a letter to members, RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “Your negotiating team have been doing everything possible to reach a resolution but despite their best efforts talks with Serco at Acas have broken down.

“Management have brought monetary issues into a dispute about health, safety and welfare in an attempt to confuse the issues and divide you and weaken your resolve.

“The ballot closes next Tuesday, December 15, and there is still time for management to address these serious issues.

“I will write to you again and inform you of the result immediately it is received and will then advise you of the general grades committee decision as soon as they have considered the matter.”

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