Eurostar promises ‘business asusual’ despite strike threat
18 August 2004
BRUSSELS – Eurostar, the high-speed train service that links the United Kingdom with France and Belgium, said that the planned weekend strike will have no effect on train service.
In a statement issued Wednesday, Eurostar spokesman Paul Charles said the planned industrial action was “pointless” and promised to run eight extra services over the British bank holiday weekend.
“All of our services will be operating normally despite this action as we have made thorough contingency plans,” he said. “It will be business as usual.”
Some customer service agents and platform staff plan to strike over pay after members of the Rail Maritime and Transport union voted by 82 to 37 in favour of walkouts, according to news reports. The union is set to announce precise strike dates later this week, but cautioned it would take action this coming weekend, according to news reports.
The dispute concerns pay differentials between workers in different parts of theUK, and claims that workers own “scandalously” low pay, the BBC reported.
In its statement Wednesday, Eurostar countered that the reason staff are paid different rates between Waterloo and Ashford is because the jobs are different.
Eurostar went on to say that London staff benefit from “weighting,” and claims that it has meanwhile offered to reduce the differential.
It also noted that it pays its terminal staff over 50 percent more than its airline competitors pay their own customer services staff.
[Copyright Expatica 2004]
Subject: Belgian news