Caledonian Sleeper service staff 'stressed' as they vote on strike action

Staff accused management of failing to adhere to promises made during a previous industrial dispute in 2019.

Caledonian Sleeper service workers ‘stressed and anxious’ as ballot for strikes over staffing levels opened Caledonian Sleeper

Staff on Scotland’s overnight rail link to London are being balloted for strike action over staffing levels.

Workers on the Caledonian Sleeper service represented by the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union accused Scottish Rail Holdings, which operates the service, of failing to “adequately” crew trains.

The Scottish Government nationalised the service in June this year.

Union bosses said employees had been caused “adverse stress and anxiety,” while management was also alleged to have failed to adhere to a dispute resolution agreement reached in 2019.

Employees will be asked if they want to take strike action and action short of strikes such as no rest day working and an overtime ban.

The ballot for train hosts and train host team leader grades will open on Tuesday, October 31, and close on November 21.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: “Our members have expertise in what kind of staffing levels you need on the Caledonian sleeper, both in terms of safety and comfort of passengers.

“Management seem intent on picking a fight with RMT members instead of listening and negotiating properly with them.

“A big vote, and turnout for strike action will send the clearest message to Caledonian Sleeper management that they need to respect the workforce and not renege on agreements with the union.”

The Caledonian Sleeper is a service operated by Scottish Rail Holdings on behalf of the Scottish Government.

Kathryn Darbandi, Managing Director for Caledonian Sleeper said: “The health and wellbeing of our staff, as well as the safety and comfort of our guests, are our absolute priorities.

“Since the pandemic the characteristics of our services have changed considerably, and we remain committed to ensuring we have the right level of onboard hosts to deliver for all our team and guests.

“We have already recruited extra onboard hosts for our services to/from the highlands. Now, in line with the post pandemic recovery in guest numbers, we are actively recruiting additional onboard hosts for our services to and from Glasgow and Edinburgh.”

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