The London Overground faces the very real possibility of severe disruption to services as workers maintaining the trains prepare to vote on strike action.
Thirty-nine engineers employed by Bombardier UK are furious over changes to their shift patterns which will mean extra travel and more disruption to their home and family lives. Bombardier wants to impose new shifts on the workers on March 4, but it’s claimed the firm has not listened to Unite’s concerns about the detriments the new shifts will impose on workers.
More frequent shifts will mean extra travel and more expense - around £1,000 per year on average. Bombardier has not offered any compensation for the change in shifts and wants to impose the new shifts without agreement. The workers are demanding that the current shift pattern remains in place until a new shift pattern can be agreed.
The union has given Bombardier seven days notice of a strike ballot. A yes vote would grind services on the London Overground to a halt as the service can not operate without a maintenance crew on standby.
Unite regional officer, Colenzo Jarrett-Thorpe said: “Bombardier is being completely unreasonable. Management expect staff to spend more money and more time travelling to and from work, for absolutely nothing. In fact the workers will end up spending around £1,000 a year extra on travel because of these changes.
“Bombardier must reconsider these proposals urgently otherwise there is a very real possibility of a strike that would grind London Overground to a halt.
“London Overground have record satisfaction rates among customers and maintenance engineering has made a key contribution to this. Bombardier is actually threatening London Overground’s popular standing. Bombardier needs to abandon these new shifts and get back to the negotiating table, so we can agree a way forward.”