Christmas Eurostar services to be affected by strike

Christmas Eurostar services to be affected by strike
A Eurostar train at Brussels Midi station. Credit Belga / Jasper Jacobs

Around 100 UK-based security workers for the international rail company, Eurostar, will go on strike over four days over the busy Christmas holiday period, demanding higher wages in line with rapidly accelerating inflation in the UK.

Members of the Rail, Maritime, and Transport (RMT) trade union, employed by Eurostar subcontractor Mitie, will strike on 16,18,22,23 December after union members voted in favour of strike action, the union said in a statement.

This strike action is set to “severely affect” Eurostar services and travel plans for travellers over the festive December period.

“Eurostar security staff are essential to the running of Eurostar, and it is disgraceful they are not being paid a decent wage,” said RMT General Secretary Mike Lynch. “They work long unsocial hours and a multi-million-pound company like Mitie can easily afford to pay them decently for the essential work they do.”

The RMT spokesperson said that they regret the disruption to Christmas travel plans, but say that it is the “only way management will listen.” The union is urging Mitie and Eurostar to come to a settlement with the union as quickly as possible.

“We’re currently assessing the impact on our timetable and expect to run most of our trains,” Eurostar said in a statement. “Passengers will be contacted if their journey is affected by timetable changes.” Eurostar will soon publish additional information about the strikes on its official website.

These four days of strike action will be added to the ever growing burden of rail strikes in the UK this winter period. Train drivers ground the rail network to a halt on 26 November.

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A new round of strikes by the RMT will see more 40,000 rail workers walk out on 14,16,17 December and 3,4,6,7 January 2023. From 18 December to 2 January, there will also be an overtime ban across the British rail system, further limiting the number of journeys. 80% of services are expected to be cancelled during the strikes.

In Belgium, rail strike action is planned between 29 November and 1 December. Eurostar says it will run a full timetable during this period.

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