Laughable game of pretence designed to give a 'business as usual' message during RMT-led stoppage
BOSSES at Heathrow Express rail services yesterday dressed up in uniforms and pretended to be workers running scab services.
The real workers — members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) — were on strike resisting job cuts, threats to safety and attacks on pay.
RMT members were staging their third stoppage in a wave of strikes, defying management attempts to intimidate and bully union members, who voted by a ratio of nine to one in favour of strike action.
As the 24-hour strike went ahead, bosses donned the uniforms of frontline staff such as ticket collectors and drivers and staged public relations and media photocalls in an attempt to con the public that it was “business as usual.”
The rock-solid strike, which coincided with the opening of Heathrow Airport’s terminal two, told a different story.
RMT acting general secretary Mick Cash said: “Despite an outrageous campaign of intimidation by Heathrow Express managers, RMT members are solidly supporting the action again this morning in a fight over cuts that would halve staffing numbers and decimate the safety regime on the Heathrow rail links.
“Instead of conning the public over the level of service that’s running, and dressing up for ludicrous publicity stunts, the HEx management should be round the table with the union addressing the deadly serious issues at the heart of this dispute.”
Bosses want to impose a multimillion-pound cuts package by attacking pay, jobs and safety.
The aim is to save £6 million over five years.
They plan to halve the Heathrow Express workforce, costing more than 200 jobs.
The attacks on jobs, pay and safety follows a decision by the Civil Aviation Authority to axe £600 million from Heathrow airport’s budget over five years.
RMT has warned that the cuts would leave Heathrow services vulnerable to terrorist attack as the service’s “eyes and ears” — staff on trains — are thrown on the scrap-heap.
The union said problems such as antisocial behaviour will increase and train staff responsible for evacuating passengers in emergencies face the sack, leaving drivers alone to deal with incidents such as fatalities and assaults.