1. ITV Report

Strike talks break down for Olympic trains

South West Trains Photo: PA

A meeting between managers and the transport union RMT aimed at preventing a strike at South West Trains during the Olympics has failed to reach an agreement.

Now both sides have issued statements in the ongoing dispute which centres on a union claim for extra payment for staff working extra hours to provide additional services for the games.

SWT say the union is using it as an opportunity to try to re-negotiate an agreed pay deal.

The union say SWT has reneged on the deal.

In it's statement, the RMT said “Olympic lies” were being told by South West Trains after the company reneged on a “business as usual” promise over the games.

The union is now preparing to ballot its members at the company for industrial action after, it says, the SWT "attempted to impose extra workloads, new rosters and a ban on leave despite a promise attached to last year’s pay agreement that the Olympics would mean 'minimal' extra work."

Bob Crow, RMT general secretary, said: “South West Trains made a promise attached to last year’s pay deal that there would be minimal change for the workforce during the games and this has turned out to be completely false.

“We now know that every grade at the company faces substantially increased workloads and the prospect of enforced extra hours and leave requests being turned down, and that means that the company has reneged on last year’s deal.

“The company’s latest bulletin to staff, issued after yesterday’s talks, is a work of fiction that our negotiating team does not recognise.

“Rather than spread these Olympic lies, the company should be sitting down with us to negotiate a fair deal for SWT staff that recognises the substantial additional burden they will face, just as other train-operating companies have already done.”

South West Trains today called on the RMT to withdraw its ballot.

It claims the talks showed the RMT was "attempting to use the Olympics as an excuse to re-negotiate the generous pay deal the union agreed only in February this year. The agreement was back-dated to October 2011, meaning RMT members have benefitted from increased pay for the past eight months".

A South West Trains spokesman said: "The RMT is trying to create a dispute to renegotiate a generous 4.75% pay deal it agreed only four months ago. We believe this is a matter of integrity and promises made in agreeing any deal should not be broken.

"At yesterday's meeting, the union was forced to accept that we have not in any way reneged on the pay deal and our plans around the London 2012 Games are entirely consistent with the agreement.

"We have given the RMT assurances over station staffing and rosters. We have also made clear that overtime will be paid to employees who are working extra shifts. This is a fair and sensible approach. What we will absolutely not do is re-negotiate a deal that has already been agreed.

"On that basis, this is a non-dispute and we have formally written to the RMT calling on them to withdraw their unnecessary ballot for industrial action."

It's believed at least 80,000 extra passengers a day are expected to pass through Waterloo during the London Games.