A railway catering crew leader has been fired, he says, for explaining why passengers were given substandard food.
Mark Doughty, 39, had explained to first class passengers that the normal cooked English breakfast wasn't available on the early morning Edinburgh-to-London train last September because of a staff shortage and a broken boiler.
But his employer, East Coast Rail, accused him of bringing the company into disrepute and has fired him.
Doughty, who had worked for East Coast rail for 14 years, told the Edinburgh News that the train had already been short-staffed because of a mix-up over holidays, and that another staff member had called in sick.
On top of this, the boiler was broken, so that there was no hot water to wash up pots and pans. This meant it wasn't possible to serve the full English breakfast, and passengers were offered paninis with bacon or scrambled egg and roast tomatoes instead.
"The passengers were not happy. The passenger who complained said the bacon panini was disgraceful – to put it politely. It tasted and looked disgusting," Doughty said.
"They were annoyed because they were not getting what they were paying for. Some took it out on the staff. One member of staff was in tears as a result.
"I explained it would not have made any difference if the chef had turned up because the broken boiler meant we could not serve them the food they would normally get."
The RMT union is now considering industrial action to demand his reinstatement. In a statement, it told Metro: "East Coast have recently used Mark as a scapegoat for continuous equipment failures on board trains resulting in a inferior catering offer and for bad management decisions by sending trains out which were knowingly short staffed."
And even the source of the original complaint, passenger David Beaumont, says he supports Doughty.
"I find it hard to believe a member of staff can simply be dismissed for telling the truth to insistent passengers like myself in such circumstances," he tells the Edinburgh News.
"The target of my complaint was the people responsible for the chaos, not the guy placed in the awkward position of breaking it to a train load of annoyed passengers, a job that he did incredibly well."
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