First Great Western strike solid

Company losing £34 million a day


Services on First Great Western (FGW) trains have been severely disrupted as the strike by RMT members across the company was solid across South Wales and south western England. FGW has only been able to run 45% of trains using managers and most trains have been late. FGW is losing £3.4 million a day during the strike.

Morale in the sun on the picket line at Cardiff Central station has been high. The travelling public has been generally supportive of RMT pickets. Strikers have explained that the strike is not for more pay but to defend existing terms and conditions for workers and passengers and to protect rail passengers’ safety. FGW wants to allow new Hitachi Super Express Trains to operate without guards and without buffet cars. This would threaten jobs but also the safety and comfort of passengers.

The importance of having a properly trained guard was illustrated by one of the strike-breaking managers in Bristol who had to call for assistance yesterday when he locked himself on one of the trains! Guards have to go on a six month course while these managers have had just three days training.

RMT members hope the company will bow to the inevitable and negotiate to allow guards on the new trains as has been negotiated on the same trains on the East Coast line. But if necessary new days of industrial action will be announced.

Dave Reid

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