July 10, 2015
Highbridge rail passengers face more disruption as strike continues

A 48-hour strike on First Great Western trains has left commuters who use Highbridge and Burnham Railway Station facing more disruption today (Friday).

High-speed services through the area have been halved by the industrial action, which started on Wednesday evening.

First Great Western is operating a revised timetable from Highbridge, with more details available here.

First Great Western said more than 60% of services were "operating as normal", but the RMT union said the figures were "pure fiction".

The dispute is over plans to dispose of guards and buffet cars on FGW's new Hitachi Inter City Express trains.

The RMT said about 2,000 members of staff are on strike across the FGW network.

General secretary Mick Cash said: "FGW are running a skeleton service in some areas which is dangerously overcrowded and being operated by inadequately trained managers, raising serious safety issues which RMT will be taking up formally."

However, a spokesman for the train operator said it was "too early to say" how many employees had decided to strike but safety was its "top priority" and it would "not operate a service without the correct number of safety competent people on board".

RMT general secretary, Mick Cash said: "The company still feel that the configuration of the new super express trains is out of their control and that it would be in their best interests to have 'driver-only' operations and to remove the buffet cars."

"That position is totally unacceptable and the union is clear that the design of the new fleet of trains is a matter for First Group and that there is still time to modify the rolling stock."

In an open letter to customers, First Great Western's Mark Hopwood said the new trains would have more staff, not fewer.

He said staff's existing pay and conditions would be protected and there would be "no compulsory redundancies for station and customer service staff".


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