OVER 100 angry rail workers have began a 48-hour strike in a bitter battle with their bosses over a sacked worker.
The RMT transport union members lined the Blackpool North train station car park with banners and leaflets to support colleague Chad Vickers who they say was unfairly sacked.
Mr Vickers was dismissed by Northern Rail after a disciplinary process following an incident that was alleged to have taken place some months ago and which was reported to police.
The union has said his sacking was unjustified and members asked for a ballot over the affair which resulted in an 85 per cent support for industrial action.
Mr Vickers, 23, a former pupil of Millfield High School in Thornton, who currently lives in Preston, spoke at the strike and said: “I am very grateful for all of my fellow employees coming out here to stand with me. All I have ever done is tell the truth and all I want is to get my job back. It has been a long painful process but hopefully it will get sorted as I know I’m in it for the long run.”
The strike started at midnight yesterday and runs until midnight tomorrow but Northern Rail has said scheduled service is not going to be affected.
Daren Ireland, RMT regional organiser, said: “All we want is to get Chad his job back. It shows just how serious we are by all the staff that have come out and supported him. We feel Chad’s sacking was farcical and grossly unfair and it is over an unproven allegation. The matter was taken to police who took no action against Chad because there was no hard evidence that any offence had been committed. Yet Northern Rail have still sacked him. We have not taken to doing this strike lightly but we do so because the Northern Rail staff at Blackpool North station believe that the company has shown little regard for due process or natural justice. We felt we had no choice and the union remains very open about meeting with Northern Rail to resolve this.”