Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union, including drivers and guards, walked out for 24 hours on Sunday and plan to do so again for 72 hours from Saturday over the Bank Holiday weekend.
The proposed removal of buffet/restaurant vehicle facilities remains in place with nothing other than an undertaking by FGW to endeavour to modify the design of AT300 rolling stock to accommodate a buffet.
He said: “The core safety role of the train guards will be downgraded as they will no longer be in charge of the door operating system”.
The strike means rail services between Barnstaple and Exeter will be drastically reduced over the Bank Holiday, with just three services running each day.
General secretary Mick Cash said in a new circular to members that urgent talks had been held with the company, but no agreement had been reached.
The dispute, which also saw staff strike in July, has emerged from plans to introduce new Hitachi Inter City Express trains which the union says could compromise safety and cost jobs.
Over the bank holiday weekend, mainly on Sunday August 30 and Monday August 31, Network Rail will be carrying out “improvement and maintenance projects aimed at creating a faster and more reliable service”.
“We’re going to see more trains, more seats and faster journeys for customers, so it is ridiculous that the union bosses’ reaction is to call for industrial action and disrupt rail services for the public”. So if those three issues are dealt with, you’ve got to ask what this is really about. Following the discussions we have written to the RMT for them to formally consider our current proposals.
But it has warned that services will be very busy if the strike does go ahead, with limited on-board food and drink services and significantly earlier departure times for last trains.
“We would still like to come to a negotiated agreement before the action is due to begin”, he said today.