Socialist Worker

Fighting Serco on the Caledonian Sleeper and over Birmingham jobs

by Sarah Bates
Issue No. 2726

Picketing at Euston station

Picketing at Euston station (Pic: Guy Smallman)

Workers on the Caledonian Sleeper overnight train service staged a solid 48-hour strike from Sunday, to demand bosses take health and safety seriously.

The RMT union members walked out on the line, which is owned by outsourcing giant Serco.

This shut down services on Sunday and Monday.

The firm was only able to run services from London to Edinburgh and Glasgow for existing bookings. There were no trains going to Inverness, Fort William and Aberdeen.

The action follows an initial 48-hour walkout last week and a work to rule.

Mick Cash, RMT general secretary, said, “It remains a scandal that Serco has wasted a whole week stonewalling talks and knocking back union proposals for a settlement.

“Instead of working with the union on a solution to the very real issues being raised by our members Serco have instead chosen to declare war on their own staff.”

Workers are demanding that bosses set aside enough sleeping berths for them during their rest periods overnight.

Cash called on the Scottish government to resolve the issue and said strikers “deserve better than this shocking treatment”.

Stop Birmingham job cuts 

Serco, the outsourcing giant at the heart of the track and trace scandal, is attempting to slash nearly a hundred jobs from its Birmingham Community Leisure service.

This is despite having collected nearly £4 million from Birmingham council during the coronavirus crisis.

The firm wants to axe 96 full time equivalent staff, meaning hundreds of part time workers could face the sack. The job cuts were announced on 2 October. But many workers affected still haven’t received written confirmation. 

Gill Ogilvie, GMB union senior organiser, said, “Why are we paying millions to a private company who kick working families to the curb just before Christmas?

“Why not run our leisure services with good council jobs?”

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