More than 1,000 workers at train operator GNER will be balloted on potential strike action in the run-up to Christmas, unions revealed today.
The National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) says that almost 1,500 guard, station staff, office workers and train drivers will vote whether to take industrial action over GNER's apparent failure to introduce a 35-hour working week.
RMT has informed the East Coast line company, which operates services between London and Edinburgh, of its intentions and plans to meet with GNER bosses on December 6th.
The union's general secretary Bob Crow today said: "The company is simply refusing to talk to us in any meaningful way about what should be the straightforward implementation of an agreement for a 35-hour week on the basis of existing agreed staffing levels."
Mr Crow claims that GNER is using the issue as a cover for future staff cuts and has reneged on a principle agreement to introduce the working hours.
Last month GNER's parent company Sea Containers filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the US after the Bermuda-base group revealed it could not pay its debts of $630 million (£339 million).