Full steam ahead on railway, despite industrial action

IT will be business as usual according to the manager of one the Whitby area’s biggest tourist attractions – even though some of its staff are taking industrial action.

The action being taken by members of the RMT union coincides with the start of the busiest time of year for the North Yorkshire Moors Railway (NYMR).

It is in connection with a row over allowances for carriage and wagon fitters.

The union says members voted overwhelmingly for action after the company refused to entertain increasing the pay of fitters who faced a marked increase in undertaking “fitness to run” examinations on trains, many of which are expected to run on Network Rail infrastructure.

RMT general secretary Bob Crow said: “This is a straightforward case of fitters being expected to shoulder additional work and responsibility having the right to be rewarded properly for it.

“The company knows that we are ready to talk to resolve the issue, but simply refusing to entertain an increase in pay for an increase in workload and responsibility is not an option.”

Philip Benham, NYMR general manager, said: “We have a small number of staff and we are talking about a handful – less than five per cent – who have, with the support of their union, introduced an overtime ban as well as what you could describe a work to rule.

“We are very disappointed this action has been called, just news of it is threatening to our business.

“It is disappointing a small number of people are threatening the livelihoods of their colleagues.

“I stress we do not expect this to affect the service we offer and the enjoyment people will have if they visit.

“We are obviously trying to find a way of solving the problem.”

Mr Benham added that the dispute may end up being referred to ACAS – an independent body which specialises in industrial disputes.