Update: Rail strike on the cards over job loss fears

PUBLISHED: 12:51 23 February 2009 | UPDATED: 22:14 26 October 2009

RMT union general secretary Bob Crow

RMT union general secretary Bob Crow

THE prospect of a paralysing rail strike looms large on the horizon after a union said it would ballot its members over job cuts. The Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union will send voting papers to 800 of its members who work for train company First C

THE prospect of a paralysing rail strike looms large on the horizon after a union said it would ballot its members over job cuts.

The Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union will send voting papers to 800 of its members who work for train company First Capital Connect (FCC).

FCC recently announced plans to cut ticket office opening hours at 28 of its stations, including Welwyn North, WGC, Knebworth and Cuffley - which the union believes will lead to job losses.

A further 2,700 employees, who work for National Express East Anglia and South West Trains, will also be asked to take part in industrial action.

The ballot will open on March 3 and close on March 17.

Speaking about the threat of industrial action, RMT general secretary Bob Crow said: "Our members are facing industry-wide attacks on their jobs by privateer train operators who, between them, have siphoned tens of millions out of the railways, and our only possible response is to co-ordinate resistance to them.

"The job losses being imposed to protect the short-term, selfish interests of the parasites running our railways threaten to do lasting damage, and they are the last thing our members, the travelling public, the environment or the economy need.

He added: "The time has come to draw a line in the sand."

A spokesman for FCC said: "As part of our plans to change ticket office opening hours, there will be no compulsory redundancies.

"The plans to change ticket hours at our stations (including increasing hours), is currently being considered by the Department for Transport following feedback from Passenger Focus and London TravelWatch.

"It would affect around 20 positions but we would like to retain all of these staff.

"We are still in consultation with the RMT over this.

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