UK : Strike threat after rail worker is fired for telling first-class passengers: a hot breakfast's off the menu
Trade union RMT has balloted its East Coast members at Edinburgh Waverley for both strike action and action short
of a strike to show solidarity for crew leader Mark Doughty.
Mr Doughty was fired for telling first class passengers on an early morning service from Edinburgh to London that they were not being served a full cooked breakfast, which was included in their fare, because of staff shortages and a broken boiler.
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East Coast management said his disclosures brought the company into disrepute and decided to dismiss Mr Doughty.
The union said Mr Doughty's only crime was "to tell the truth", adding: "It should have been the company itself, and its management, which should have been under investigation for failing the travelling public."
RMT said East Coast had been repeatedly warned by union reps over sending out under-staffed trains with broken boilers and other faulty equipment, but failed to act and had instead "opted to scapegoat a member of staff who was only carrying out his responsibility to be honest and up-front with passengers".
The case against Mr Doughty was launched following a complaint from a passenger.
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said: "RMT is appalled that a legitimate complaint from a member of the public over the companies failings has been twisted and distorted by East Coast into a case against the member of staff whose only crime was tell to the truth about staff shortages and faulty equipment
"The unfair and disproportionate punishment meted out by management to Mark Doughty is a total miscarriage of justice. This is not a situation that can go unchallenged and as a result union's executive committee has decided to ballot our all our On-Board East Coast members at Edinburgh Waverley for strike action and industrial action short of a strike, to force the company to re-employ Brother Doughty".
Ballot papers will be dispatched from February 23 and the ballot will close on March 10.
A spokesman for East Coast said: "Whilst this remains an internal matter, we are of course aware of the RMT's intention to ballot its membership over the dismissal of Mr Doughty.
"We have clear and thorough processes, agreed with the trade unions, for managing disciplinary issues and these have been followed.
"The decision also took into account the wider context of his employment with the Company."