Over 1,000 workers in the RMT transport workers’ union at Southeastern Trains are to begin a ballot for action this week over two different issues. Almost 500 guards, drivers and customer service hosts are to be balloted over management plans to reduce the safety role of the guard and extend the driver-only operation.
Around 750 retail and engineering staff at the company are also balloting after the company offered them a below-inflation 4.3 percent pay deal – and threatened to reduce it to 4.1 percent if it was rejected.
The company intends to transfer control of power-operated doors to drivers and scrap guards on its new Hitachi Javelin 395 rolling stock.
“The company is attempting use these new trains as a Trojan horse to scrap guards and extend driver-only operation throughout its franchise area,” said Bob Crow, the RMT general secretary.
“It is a cost-cutting exercise that means an attack on safety standards for our members and the hundreds of thousands of people who use the company’s trains.”
Both ballots close on 11 September.
The threat of four days of strike action by maintenance workers at Network Rail last weekend forced management to offer new talks.
Workers in the RMT union had already struck solidly twice in their battle for the harmonisation of pay and conditions. The union called off last weekend’s action after the offer of talks.