Staff ‘do not believe Avanti can improve its services this month’ – union

Staff have no confidence rail firm Avanti can achieve promised improvements to its services this month, according to a union.

The Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union marked the third anniversary of Avanti taking over the running of services on the West Coast mainline by surveying 1,000 of its members at the company.

The union said its members condemned the company in “overwhelming numbers” and made it clear they have no confidence the management can turn things around in December.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: “This survey shows that Avanti have misled Parliament about what’s happened on their services and suggests there’s little hope that they can turn things around in the future.

“The truth is that the company has mismanaged the franchise from day one, trying to bully staff into running services on a completely under-resourced workforce and it’s now locked in a death spiral.

“Avanti’s management is toxic to staff who have no trust and confidence in the company. The Government’s response so far has been utterly hopeless, giving the company an extension and, it appears, colluding in fabricating a myth that these events are beyond Avanti’s control in order to save the company’s profits.

“Avanti should be stripped of the franchise now and the West Coast Mainline should join the East Coast Mainline in the public sector, which has run it effectively now for years.”

An Avanti West Coast spokesman said: “Over the last few months, our sole focus has been to do everything we can to return to a more resilient operation which delivers more services for our customers and communities.

“We have been working closely with our people, and consulting with their union representatives, to deliver a new timetable which is based on a robust and sustainable roster for our people without reliance on overtime.

“This provides a better working pattern for staff and our customers will benefit from more trains and greater connectivity.”