Belfast Telegraph

Rail catering workers to vote on industrial action over pay

Contract workers who provide catering for Virgin Rail's West Coast route are to be balloted for industrial action in a dispute over pay.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union employed by the DHL Group will vote in the coming weeks on whether to launch a campaign of action.

The union said the workers, who prepare food but do not work on trains, have been offered a pay rise of 1.75%, but only for those who did not receive any increase when the national living wage came into effect earlier this year.

Virgin said in a statement: "This dispute is between the RMT and DHL.

"None of the people who will be balloted are employees of Virgin Trains and they do not work on-board our trains."

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: "This union will not tolerate a grinding down of pay rates to poverty thresholds on Britain's railways at a time when the political focus is all on lifting wages to decent, living levels.

"DHL's offer does nothing to assist the overwhelming majority of their staff, who are based at Euston, to secure the London living wage.

"These catering staff are part of the team on the inter-city West Coast routes who slog their guts out supplying passengers, often in difficult conditions, with our rammed-out and delayed trains.

"The very least that they deserve is pay justice."

A DHL spokesman said: "We are disappointed that the RMT has decided to ballot its members on industrial action.

"However, we are optimistic that a satisfactory outcome for both parties can be reached."