The operator of the Caledonian Sleeper is refunding passengers after it cancelled services during an 11-day strike by rail workers.
The move by Serco comes after the RMT union confirmed strike action would begin today (June 15) and continue until 26 June.
The RMT claims that Serco attempted to impose a pay freeze on rail staff.
The union says it is “disgraceful” that rail workers are being expected to take a major hit to their standards of living amid rising inflation and widespread reports of rising wage increases across other industries and sectors.
However, the rail operator says the action is “unjustified”.
‘Open to discussions’
Caledonian Sleeper managing director Kathryn Darbandi said: “As we have made clear from the outset, we are unable to offer a pay review this year when the business has been hit so hard by the pandemic.
“Again, I want to reiterate that all our hard-working staff have received full pay since the pandemic began, and no one has been made redundant despite there being a significant reduction in the services we have run.
“We also provided our team with a bonus payment at the beginning of the year.
“We remain ready to talk to our staff and the RMT to resolve this situation and we intend to resume pay talks next year once there has been time for the business to recover.”
RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: “Rather than playing this kind of silly games – selling tickets and then refunding passengers – it would make far more sense for Serco to be committing time and money to negotiating a settlement that recognises the hard work of their staff.”
All staff grades were involved in the RMT ballot, which returned an 85% vote in favour of a strike.
Members have also been instructed not to work any overtime or work on their rest days from June 26.