Min­is­ters must act to pre­vent Eurostar cuts, says union boss

Western Daily Press - - Business -

THE Gov­ern­ment is be­ing urged to of­fer sup­port to cross-Chan­nel rail firm Eurostar af­ter union lead­ers said they have been told of cuts which will hit jobs and ser­vices.

The Rail, Mar­itime and Trans­port union said cuts could lead to a 20 per cent re­duc­tion in costs with an im­pact on jobs and ser­vices.

The union said it has en­tered into talks with the aim of pro­tect­ing staff em­ployed across the Eurostar op­er­a­tion.

The RMT warned that any cuts at Eurostar, along­side pro­pos­als to axe ferry jobs, would hit Kent par­tic­u­larly hard.

The union called on Trans­port Sec­re­tary Grant Shapps to in­ter­vene as a mat­ter of ur­gency.

RMT as­sis­tant gen­eral sec­re­tary Mick Lynch said: “RMT is de­mand­ing Gov­ern­ment sup­port to pro­tect Eurostar jobs and ser­vices from the fall-out of the Covid-19 pan­demic and to recog­nise the long-term im­por­tance to the Bri­tish econ­omy of th­ese cross-Chan­nel trans­port ser­vices as we look to the fu­ture. Short-term cuts would have dire long-term con­se­quences. The Eurostar an­nounce­ment mir­rors sim­i­lar cuts plans com­ing out of the ferry sec­tor and would have par­tic­u­larly se­ri­ous im­pli­ca­tions for the econ­omy of Kent.

“RMT will be seek­ing ur­gent talks with the Gov­ern­ment to stop this cull of jobs and ser­vices which would leave Bri­tain ill-equipped to kick­start the econ­omy with cross-Chan­nel tourism and trade.”

A Eurostar spokesman said: “The im­pact of Covid-19 has led to an un­prece­dented fall in de­mand across the travel in­dus­try. We are tak­ing steps to pro­tect Eurostar for the long term by re­duc­ing costs across the busi­ness, and are tak­ing a con­sid­ered ap­proach to re­duc­ing our pay­roll costs, work­ing closely with trade union part­ners.

“We are look­ing to in­tro­duce re­duced hours and part-time work­ing wher­ever pos­si­ble through­out 2021 to pro­tect as many jobs as pos­si­ble and re­tain the knowl­edge, skills and ex­pe­ri­ence of our peo­ple for the re­cov­ery, keep­ing any po­ten­tial re­dun­dancy to a min­i­mum.”

Gareth Fuller/PA wire

Union lead­ers say they have been warned about cuts at Eurostar

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