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Eurostar staff vote to strike

PUBLISHED: 15:17 03 December 2008 | UPDATED: 10:18 23 August 2010

EUROSTAR managers have voted to strike in the run up to Christmas following a row over shift patterns. More than 70 members of the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) and the Transport Salaried Staffs Association (TSSA) unions v

EUROSTAR managers have voted to strike in the run up to Christmas following a row over shift patterns.

More than 70 members of the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) and the Transport Salaried Staffs' Association (TSSA) unions voted for strike action.

Those including staff at Ebbsfleet International claim to have not been consulted before new rosters requiring them to work four weekends out of five were announced.

Union representatives say workers on this side of the channel are doing 80 per cent of the weekend shifts where before they used to share them 50-50 with their counterparts on the continent.

RMT general secretary Bob Crow said: "Our members have told the company very clearly that imposing unfair and unequal rosters is no way to reward staff who did all they could to help Eurostar get back to normal after the recent Channel Tunnel fire.

"We hope the company will now get back in step with its own policy, withdraw these imposed rosters and get back around the table with us to find a fair and equitable solution."

Both unions have urged the company to withdraw the disputed rosters and negotiate in order to avoid industrial action in the run-up to Christmas

TSSA general secretary Gerry Doherty said: "All our members want is for weekend duties to be shared equally among train managers on both sides of the Channel.

"Nobody wants to see services disrupted as Christmas approaches, but our members are telling us that they cannot accept unfair and imposed rosters that undermine their work-life balance."

Eurostar says it is in talks with the unions and will endeavour to ensure that services will operate normally in the run-up to Christmas. The company says the rosters and shift patterns were introduced as a result of the amended timetable since the incident in the Channel Tunnel in September and fully meet the conditions of contract for all Eurostar UK Train Managers.

Marc Noaro, Eurostar's customer services director said: "Following the Channel Tunnel incident and the introduction of the current amended timetable our passengers have experienced significant disruption and by far the majority have understood the situation.

"We are extremely disappointed that our UK Train Managers have decided on this course of action and at this time, and we will make every effort to ensure our travellers face no further disruption in the busy period up to Christmas and the New Year."

Exact dates for industrial action are still to be confirmed.

jason.goodyer@archant.co.uk

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