SWT staff strike over ‘second class’ treatment

Over
2,000 of South West Trains’ station staff and guards have started the first of
three 24-hour strikes over pay and conditions.

The
RMT union claims that the staff are being treated as "second-class
citizens" and wants their pay made in line with that of train drivers.

RMT
rejected an improved three-year 15 per cent pay increase for staff as well as a
two-hour cut in the working week from autumn 2003, to avert the strike –
starting today and continuing tomorrow and Monday.

SWT
drivers have been offered an 18-month deal that gives them a 3.8 per cent
increase with effect from April of last year plus a further 3.8 per cent from
October 2001.

"These
loyal members deserve equal treatment to drivers. All we want is a fair deal
for all our members – which, despite our best efforts at the negotiating table,
has not been forthcoming," said the RMT acting general secretary Vernon
Hince.

"Why
should non-driver employees be treated less favourably when they work every bit
as hard and are as equally loyal? They are not second-class citizens – and we
will not be brow beaten into accepting a hugely inferior deal on their
behalf."

On
Tuesday 8 January, SWT train crew members will also strike over the alleged
abuse of the disciplinary procedure by SWT.

By Paul Nelson

 

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