- First walkout at Paris-London train operator to start Friday
- Eurostar to scrap as many as four trains a day during weekend
U.K. labor union RMT plans strikes on Eurostar International Ltd. services this weekend and in late August to protest what it says is the rail operator’s failure to live up to a scheduling program for train managers.
A four-day walkout will begin in the early hours of Friday and last through midnight on Monday, the union said in a statement Wednesday. Eurostar responded that it will cancel two trains on the first day with as many as four cancellations on each of Saturday, Sunday and Monday. The second strike will last three days, from Aug. 27 through Aug. 29, the RMT said.
“The dispute centers on Eurostar’s failure to honor an agreement from 2008 which sought to ensure that train managers could expect a good work-life balance in terms of unsocial hours and duty rosters,” the union said.
Eurostar operates high-speed passenger trains linking London with Paris and Brussels via the Channel Tunnel, and it served 10 million travelers in 2015. The company is trying to find a resolution with the RMT, and will make arrangements so that all passengers who have tickets can travel this weekend, a Eurostar spokeswoman said by phone from London.
RMT is seeking to preserve “working practices that are decades out of date,” U.K. Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said in an interview with the BBC, referring to the train operators’ working hours. “This simply won’t do,” he said. “The union should stop doing this and get back to work.”