Strike threat: Rail operator staff to vote in row over jobs and safety

Banbury Railway Station
Banbury Railway Station

Workers at a leading rail operator which runs services in Banbury are to be balloted for strikes in a row over jobs and safety.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union at First Great Western, which runs services to Banbury Railway Station from Oxford Monday to Saturday, will vote in the coming weeks on whether to launch a campaign of industrial action over the introduction of new trains.

Banbury Railway Station's services are provided by Chiltern Railways, First Great Western and Cross Country

Banbury Railway Station's services are provided by Chiltern Railways, First Great Western and Cross Country

The union has been seeking assurances over staffing levels, jobs, buffet car facilities and maintenance on the new Super Express trains.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “RMT has made every effort to secure a series of very basic assurances from FGW over jobs, services and safety as a result of the introduction of the new Hitachi fleet and they have simply ignored us.

“We therefore have no option but to move to a ballot of all staff for action to force the company to take this issue seriously.

“It is frankly ludicrous that East Coast, who are introducing the same trains, have given us the assurances we are seeking but FGW have ignored us and are crashing ahead with the ripping out of buffet cars and the threat to safety-critical station and train staff purely to maximise the profits from new trains bought for them by the British taxpayer.”