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Union rubbishes rail bosses’ claims over train strikes

A ROW erupted yesterday after bosses at one of Britain’s biggest rail networks claimed a strike was having little impact.

Guards and buffet staff at First Great Western are in the midst of a 48-hour stoppage and they say flagship new trains being designed to strip out their jobs.

The operator said more than 60 per cent of trains were operating as normal.

It claimed that 10 per cent more staff than expected had reported for duty, meaning the emergency timetable it had prepared could be bolstered with extra services.

But rail union RMT general secretary Mick Cash branded the claims “pure fiction.”

He said: “The company has been reduced down to a skeleton service due to the strike action as passengers will confirm and it does no-one any favours driving more people on to dangerously overcrowded trains.

“The solution to this dispute isn’t manufactured figures and PR stunts, it is serious talks addressing the core issues that have forced our members to strike.”

Stations from London to south-west England and south Wales were picketed by angry staff, who said bosses had refused to give assurances for the future of their jobs for the three years they have been raising the issue.

FGW managing director Mark Hopwood said: “No-one working on board these trains will lose their jobs because of our proposals, in fact we need at least 100 more not fewer staff on board to deliver our plans.

“Yesterday we made a number of additional commitments that we believe meet the concerns of the RMT, while still allowing us to deliver the improvements our customers want to see.”

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