NATIONAL Express East Anglia has condemned the calling of four, two-day strikes by the RMT union.
RMT says union members working for the company have voted by nine to one in favour of the series of strikes in a dispute over pay, conditions and reorganisation.
If they go ahead the RMT union says the strikes will take place from 00.01 on Thursday to 23.59 on Friday on 30/31 July, 6/7 August, 13/14 August and 20/21 August.
Meanwhile Aslef, the drivers’ union, has confirmed its intention to call on its members working for NXEA to strike on the same days.
The strikes would hit services into and out of Liverpool Street station which is the main terminal for services coming into London from Norwich, Ipswich, Colchester, Chelmsford, Clacton and Stansted Express services. There are also local services to Cambridge via Harlow.
Bob Crow, RMT general secretary, said: “Our members have shown in this ballot that they are not prepared to be the victims of National Express franchise chaos and are determined to fight for a decent pay rise and for decent working conditions.”
The RMT claim that National Express has made nearly half a billion pounds in profit from its rail operations over the past 10 years.
But an NXEA spokesman said: “We are extremely disappointed that the Aslef and RMT unions have called a series of strikes over their salary demands, despite lengthy negotiations where we have offered the unions a salary increase above the rate of inflation.
“In the present economic environment – where many companies are freezing pay at current levels - we believe the offers we have made are both realistic and appropriate.
“Strike action is not the solution and it will only result in difficult times for our customers. We are available at any time for constructive discussions with the unions to find a resolution to this year’s pay award.”
In another dispute RMT members working for CrossCountry have voted by four to one on a 55 per cent turnout to take action short of a strike over what they describe as “a breakdown in industrial relations around pay and a series of issues relating to working conditions”, and union representatives are to meet shortly to decide on a strategy.
“We remain available for talks with CrossCountry to work out an agreement on pay and service conditions which gives all staff a fair deal,” said Mr Crow.
The RMT is also to begin balloting members working on London Midland for both strike action and action short of a strike in a dispute over enhanced payments for Sunday working.
All station, clerical, retail, booking office and supervisory grade members are to be balloted, but drivers, conductors and depot staff are not included.
“We believe that all our members should receive enhanced payments for booking on Sunday rest days, and should have the same improved conditions available to other grades,” said Mr Crow. “But London Midland has failed to resolve this issue through negotiation.”