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Railway staff to strike over job cuts

PUBLISHED: 09:25 25 March 2009 | UPDATED: 13:27 03 July 2010

Strike staff: Train services across the area will be hit by a walkout by railway staff on Monday.

Strike staff: Train services across the area will be hit by a walkout by railway staff on Monday.

TRAIN passengers face serious disruption next week when workers go on a 24-hour strike in protest at job cuts.

Members of the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) at National Express East Anglia will walk out on Monday after they voted by a margin of two to one in favour of industrial action.

TRAIN passengers face serious disruption next week when workers go on a 24-hour strike in protest at job cuts.

Members of the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) at National Express East Anglia will walk out on Monday after they voted by a margin of two to one in favour of industrial action.

The union says bosses have failed to rule out compulsory redundancies, with 300 job losses planned.

A spokesman at National Express described the action as unnecessary and reassured passengers that most services would still run.

Those travelling between Norwich and London will see services being cut from two to one an hour during the day, with additional trains at peak times.

Hourly services between Norwich and Cambridge will be replaced by single morning and evening peak trains, but none is expected to run between Norwich and Yarmouth, Lowestoft and Sheringham.

The company spokesman said a review of the business was putting a greater focus on customer service and operational delivery, and added: “It has resulted in some job reductions which have all been delivered through either managing vacancies or voluntary redundancy.”

The company claims that only a minority of RMT members within the business voted for a strike.

“The RMT are pursuing a needless dispute which will only result in loss of earnings for their members. This reorganisation followed extensive consultation and engagement with the trade union officials and elected staff representatives,” added the spokesman, who said most National Express services would run on the network in the event the walkout did take place.

About 1,500 workers are expected to join the strike and a coinciding walk-out at First Capital Connect, which runs trains between King's Lynn, Cambridge and Peterborough and London and the south coast.

RMT general secretary Bob Crow said: “Both these franchises are seeking to slash jobs solely to maintain profits and dividends, and our members at both have voted decisively for action to defend those jobs. It is only five years since National Express promised better booking office facilities, a bright future for full on-board catering on Norwich trains and the recruitment of more customer-facing staff on the East Anglia franchise.

“Now our members and the public they serve are faced with the prospect of 300 job losses, cuts to services and the creeping casual-isation of professional railway jobs with the use of agency and contract labour. Yet the National Express empire last year saw its UK rail profits jump by 28pc, contributing to a £60m payout to shareholders.”

Train service information at www.nationalexpresseastanglia.com

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