Workers on the Caledonian Sleeper, operated by Serco, are continuing an 11-day strike for improved pay and conditions. Nightly pickets are well supported, and link up with each other via Zoom. We spoke to a striker in Glasgow:
Support for the strike in Glasgow and the rest of Scotland is excellent. It is a dispute which we did not seek. All we want is a level of fairness from the employer, Serco, which runs the sleeper service.
Serco’s Chief Executive had his pay increased to £4.9 million last year. Serco has paid out £17 millions to its shareholders. But then Serco turns round to us and tell us we’re not getting a penny.
This shows contempt for a workforce which has given 100% and more. Serco is claiming that their hands are tied and that it is the Scottish Government which makes the decisions. But Serco was able to decide to pay millions to its Chief Executive and shareholders. So why can’t they decide to pay us?
Throughout the pandemic we were the ones who were out at work, while management stayed at home. And now it will cost Serco more in train cancellations than what it would cost them to give us a pay rise. It’s a sad state of affairs when a company treats its workforce like this.
Our members come to the picket lines (which have been held every evening during the strike) when they can. We keep in touch by e-mail – we have around 40 members in the sleeper service, spread between Inverness, Fort William, Aberdeen, Glasgow, Edinburgh and London. As long as we keep the e-mails going, that helps keep us together.
There has been no movement by management during the strike. They are not interested in talking to us. The strike will be followed by a ban on overtime and rest-day working, but at this stage we don’t know what impact it will have.