Union sets date for Eurostar strike

18th August 2004, Comments 0 comments

LONDON, Aug 20 (AFP) - Workers at Eurostar, the high-speed train service linking London with Paris and Brussels, are to stage a 24-hour pay strike at the end of the month, trade union officials said on Friday.

LONDON, Aug 20 (AFP) - Workers at Eurostar, the high-speed train service linking London with Paris and Brussels, are to stage a 24-hour pay strike at the end of the month, trade union officials said on Friday.

The Rail Maritime and Transport (RMT) union announced its intention to strike earlier in the week, and said on Friday it had chosen August 28, midway through a three-day public holiday weekend in Britain.

Although the weekend will be a busy one, Eurostar has said the strike will involve less than 10 percent of its staff and will not affect services.

"The RMT have chosen the bank holiday to try to cause maximum disruption but for Eurostar and its passengers it is business as usual," Eurostar said in a statement on Friday.

The RMT complains that "unequal and unfair pay" means workers at a Eurostar terminal in Ashford, south-east England, near the entrance to the Channel Tunnel, are paid far less than those at London's Waterloo station.

Eurostar, which is jointly owned by French rail operator SNCF, Belgium's SNCB railways and the British Channel Tunnel Rail Link consortium, counters that the jobs are significantly different, and that London posts are weighted differently.

A company-wide pay deal was signed by unions and Eurostar in September last year. The rail company, which has run trains under the Channel Tunnel since November 1994 but has yet to record any profit, has said it will not renegotiate.

© AFP

Subject: French news

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