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Jarvis hit by rail strike

JARVIS RAIL managers were doubtful of their ability to stop more than 2,000 of its maintenance workers staging a seven day strike as NCE went to press on Tuesday.

RMT union members were threatening to strike over pay and conditions issues from midnight on Saturday after rejecting a deal to work more flexible hours. The action could bring chaos to the rail network in northern

England.

Jarvis wants to swop fixed daily working hours for availability of its employees seven days a week, 24 hours a day, in line with other rail maintenance contractors. In return it has offered operatives a package which would allow them to work eight hours less a week for the same salary.

The package is thought to be comparable with one already accepted by Amey Rail workers. It won the backing of the Jarvis union council before Christmas but was rejected by the RMT executive earlier in the week.

A Jarvis source said the company would do what it could to stop the strike.

But he claimed the situation was not being helped by the RMT's on-going action against London Underground over the threat to jobs created by the planned £7bn privately financed upgrade of the Tube.

'While that is still going on the RMT is unlikely to want to settle with other rail companies,' he said.

An RMT spokesman confirmed that talks were continuing but that the strike was still on - barring a breakthrough.

Railtrack said Jarvis promised services would allowed to run safely in the event of a strike.

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