Caledonian Sleeper workers to walk out on strike

Picture: ScotRail
Picture: ScotRail
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A 48-hour strike by workers on the Caledonian Sleeper service between Scotland and London will go ahead tonight after talks broke down.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union will walk out at 6:30pm and picket lines were to be mounted in Inverness, Fort William, Aberdeen, Glasgow Central, Edinburgh Waverley and London Euston.

The dispute is over union claims of defects to trains which it says pose safety threats.

The RMT and train operator Serco met for last-ditch talks which ended without agreement just before midnight on Monday. The union has raised issues including disconnected smoke detectors, lighting and heating systems not working, along with loss of power during journeys.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “The poor service to passengers, in conjunction with the company’s failure to address the issues raised by RMT representatives and officials in talks right up to the wire late last night, reached the point where the union decided enough is enough and left us with no option but to put on industrial action before someone is injured.

“That action now goes ahead. Serco never had any intention of taking the talks process seriously and have treated both staff and public with complete contempt throughout.”

The sleeper franchise was awarded to Serco by the Scottish Government in March, taking over from First Group.

Peter Strachan, managing director of Caledonian Sleeper, said: “We attended further talks at Acas on Monday with every intention of working with the RMT to resolve this dispute.

“I am therefore extremely disappointed that we have not been able to do so, given the many and varied issues that they have raised have either been resolved or are in the process of being resolved through a robust and detailed repair and maintenance plan.

“The RMT has chosen to press ahead with this industrial action just before Christmas and one of the busiest times of the year. I am particularly sorry for our guests, who will now be significantly inconvenienced by this.”

READ MORE: Talks to avert Caledonian Sleeper strike break down