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Bank Holiday First Great Western rail strike to go ahead after talks stall

Published 26/08/2015

First Great Western services run from London to South Wales and the South West
First Great Western services run from London to South Wales and the South West

A Bank Holiday strike by workers at a leading rail company is set to go ahead after talks failed to lead to an agreement.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union at First Great Western are due to walk out for three days from Saturday in a row over new trains.

The action will disrupt FGW services, which run from London to South Wales and the South West.

The union is in dispute over new high speed trains which it says will hit jobs and on-board catering.

General secretary Mick Cash said in a new circular to members that urgent talks had been held with the company, but no agreement had been reached.

Workers excluding maintenance staff will strike from 00.01 on Saturday until 23.59 on Monday, while maintenance grade members will not book on for shifts on Saturday and Monday.

A company spokesman said " positive" talks were held with the union on Tuesday, adding: "We have once again reiterated that our proposals do not involve running the new trains without a qualified train manager on board and that our plans mean recruiting at least 100 more on-board staff, not less. Following the discussions we have written to the RMT for them to formally consider our current proposals.

"We hope to hear from them soon, and have scheduled further discussions later this week.

"The brand new Super Express Trains will deliver more seats, faster journey times and more frequent journeys for our passengers. Our plans mean more train managers and customer hosts on board our trains not less, and who on every Intercity Express Train, will maintain the same safety competences as they currently require."

Rail minister Claire Perry said: "This dispute is about replacing old trains from the 1970s with brand new high-speed Hitachi trains.

"We're going to see more trains, more seats and faster journeys for customers, so it is ridiculous that the union bosses' reaction is to call for industrial action and disrupt rail services for the public.

"I want to see sense prevail and for this strike to be called off as soon as possible."

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