East Midlands Trains has today (Wednesday) vowed to end its franchise on a high by running as many services as possible for customers despite the RMT union announcing an additional fourth day of action on the last day before the company gives up the service to new operators.
The RMT has already announced industrial action on Saturday August 3, and has today announced a further day of action on Saturday August 17, which is the last day of the East Midlands Trains franchise.
The action affects senior conductors in the RMT Union who work on the company’s local routes. East Midlands Trains services to and from London will not be impacted and will run as planned, while services will continue to run on the majority of local routes. The company says there will be revised timetables and replacement coach services on some routes and customers are advised to check before travel. Timetables will shortly be available at eastmidlandstrains.co.uk.
Rail union RMT has accused franchise holder Stagecoach of allegedly “cutting and running” before they leave their franchise after a dispute with the government over pension obligations.
Adam Piddington, Customer Experience Director for East Midlands Trains said: “Claims being made by the RMT are untrue. We are very sorry that our customers and colleagues have been dragged into a political argument at a time when there is an RMT leadership election going on.
“We actually had a very positive meeting with RMT reps last week and we were all hopeful of reaching a resolution to avoid any further disruption for passengers.
“It’s therefore very disappointing that the RMT are still continuing with a further day of action this Saturday and have announced action on the last day of franchise.
“This action is over contracts that have been in place for six years and have not been changed, and were introduced with the RMT’s full agreement.
“Once again, our focus will be on making sure we provide the best service for customers right until the end of our franchise.”
The RMT claims the dispute is over East Midlands Trains management’s failure to bring a meaningful resolution to RMT members’ concerns over pay discrimination and contract issues.
RMT says it has made every effort to broker a negotiated settlement but have been “snubbed” by the Stagecoach-owned company as it winds down its franchise.
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said: “East Midlands Trains’ lack of commitment to deal with our concerns over contractual issues such as compulsory Sunday working, wage discrimination and other matters is a total disgrace. RMT members will not be left to pay a heavy personal price as Stagecoach slash and burn their way through their remaining franchises.
“The union remains available for talks but we are not in the business of being strung along and the past two weekends of rock solid action have shown the resilience and determination of our EMT members to see justice.”