Defend Catering Grades

Submitted by Off The Rails on 1 July, 2009 - 8:43

TOCs are hitting out at catering, with the loss of buffets, services and jobs.

East Coast has restructured catering, and few restaurant cars now remain. On National Express East Anglia, all restaurants have gone, part of a package of 300 job cuts, most of them lost from the Norwich call centre. 

On Virgin Cross Country, all shops have gone and it is now trolleys only, with nothing north of Edinburgh or west of Plymouth.

Even First Great Western catering staff, who successfully defended themselves through a strike ballot last year, now face management trying to undo what they won. 

Catering staff 'enjoy' some of the lowest-paid, lowest-status jobs in the rail industry, and now have to fight to defend those jobs and the principle of service before profit. 

Around half-a-dozen disputes between RMT and the TOCs are currently rumbling, with the union fighting to retain services and prevent redundancies. We need action to be co-ordinated, as we can be sure that the employers will co-ordinate their strike-breaking activities.

RMT's Catering Charter is impressive, but it needs to be used to place demands on the TOCs and to mobilise for a fightback, not just as glossy advertising for the union.

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