Page last updated at 18:29 GMT, Thursday, 11 September 2008 19:29 UK

Railway workers vote for strikes

Full-scale model of Javelin train
The RMT is disputing the roles of staff on new high speed trains

About 1,250 rail workers on Southeastern routes are to strike for 48 hours in two separate disputes.

Drivers, guards, engineers and retail staff in the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) voted in favour of the strikes on 22 and 23 September.

The RMT said the strikes were about the company's intention to "do away with" guards on new trains and a pay offer.

Southeastern, which covers Kent, East Sussex and part of Surrey, said they would cause unnecessary inconvenience.

Nearly 500 guards and drivers voted for strike action over the role of guards on new 395 Hitachi Javelin trains.

And 750 retail and engineering staff voted to strike over a 4.3% pay offer which the union said was below inflation.

The strikes will being at 0001 on 22 September.

'Good offer'

"Southeastern's plan to extend driver-only operation and remove guards on trains carrying up to 1,000 passengers should ring alarm bells among passengers as well as rail staff," RMT general secretary Bob Crow said.

The company said it was "extremely disappointed" with the result of the strike ballots.

"We believe a 4.3% pay increase is a good offer, particularly in the current economic climate," it said.

"Concerning our new high-speed trains, the RMT has alleged it is a dispute over the loss of conductors' jobs.

"But while 45 conductors' jobs will go, the introduction of high-speed train services in December next year will see the creation of 90 new well-paid, on-board manager roles, providing customer service."

Railway workers vote on strikes
15 Aug 08 |  England

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