UNION reps yesterday urged transport giant FirstGroup to come clean over job losses on the Great Western route, after a series of “vague statements” on the future of buffet cars, guards and engineering roles.
Rail union RMT has said the introduction of Intercity Express Programme trains, set to be rolled out from this year, could put hundreds of jobs under threat — with buffet cars downgraded to a trolley service.
The new Virgin/Stagecoach East Coast franchise, which will also run the IEP trains, have promised they will be modified to include a buffet car. But when pressed on this issue by the Star earlier this month, FirstGroup refused to give a similar assurance.
RMT has now posed a series of specific questions to FirstGroup, asking for assurances on the continuation of buffet cars and for bosses to rule out driver-only operation of trains — which would mean the sacking of guards.
The union is also seeking assurances that engineering staff set to be transferred to manufacturer Hitachi would maintain their current terms under the 2006 Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) regulations (Tupe).
General secretary Mick Cash said: “RMT is far from happy with the vague statements coming out from FirstGroup over the future of catering services, train crew and engineering jobs as a result of them being gifted a whole fleet of new inter-city trains courtesy of the taxpayer and the fare-paying public.
“RMT is demanding direct answers and firm assurances rather than the ambiguous waffle that has been issued to staff.”