Caledonian Sleeper workers vote for strike action in pay dispute

Caledonian Sleeper workers have voted in favour of strike action over a pay dispute.

The Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union held a ballot claiming service operators Serco “attempted to impose a pay freeze on hardworking staff who have kept the service running throughout the Covid pandemic”.

All staff grades were involved in the ballot, which returned an 85% vote in favour of strikes.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: “Following the overwhelming vote in the recent ballot of RMT members on the Serco Caledonian Sleeper the union will be looking at dates to put on strike action.

“Our members reasonably expected a pay rise as a reward for the hard work that they carried out in the past year during the pandemic.

“I doubt very much that the Serco shareholders have been told that there will be no dividend for them.

“This contempt towards a loyal and dedicated workforce is completely unacceptable and RMT will be backing them all the way.

“The union remains available for talks aimed at resolving this dispute.”

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There were 133 members entitled to vote in the ballot, with 95 doing so – 81 voted for action with the other 14 voting against.

Any new strike dates have yet to be confirmed, with the union’s executive considering its next steps, but Serco says passengers will be updated upon changes to travel once these are confirmed.

It comes after two periods of strike action in October last year led to services being cancelled.

Kathryn Darbandi, Serco’s managing director for Caledonian Sleeper, said: “We are disappointed that the RMT has balloted for industrial action.

“We feel it is unjustified, given that our frontline staff have received above inflation pay increases averaging 2.9% each year for the past six years.

“Furthermore, even though our services have been greatly reduced, our team has remained on full pay and no-one has been made redundant, despite the immense challenges posed by the pandemic.

“That makes RMT industrial action particularly frustrating at a time when we should all be united.

“Once potential strike dates are confirmed, we will update guests due to travel of any changes to their journey, and do all that we can to minimise disruption.”