Central trains refuses talks offer and turns strike into lockout
RMT: December 20 2006
CENTRAL TRAINS bosses today refused an offer by RMT to suspend Christmas and New Year strike action by 550 senior conductors to hold talks over the imposition of centralised rostering and arrangements for Christmas and New Year’s payments, and decided instead to close the railway.
RMT's offer to suspend strike action to hold talks on a seven-point peace plan was turned down flat today by the company, which has instead said it will run no services and lock out all staff on Chistmas Eve and New Year's Eve.
"Our talks team offered to suspend the three days of strike action if the company would commit itself to hammering out a peace plan on the issues we are in dispute over, but Central Trains have chosen instead to close the railway on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve," RMT general secretary Bob Crow said today.
"Central Trains is clearly not interested in reaching a deal over the two disputes involved and has chosen instead to lock out its entire staff.
"Our members have genuine grievances that need to be addressed, but it is the company that has turned down the opportunity to put in place a plan that would have allowed services to run.
"We have made it clear that we remain available for talks to resolve both disputes, and that remains the case, and we can only hope that the company re-considers its position," Bob Crow said.
Notes to editors: RMT conductors at Central voted by 231 to 37, a margin of more than six to one, to strike over the imposition of centralised rostering, and by 177 to 68 to take action over the company's attempt to give conductors a worse Christmas-working deal than other staff.