Eurostar (2)

Eurostar rail workers are to strike for seven days this month in a dispute over work-life balance, the RMT union has said.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union will walk out at 0.01am on Friday 12 August, until 11.59pm on Monday 15 August, and for three days over the bank holiday weekend from 27 August, due to the on-going dispute surrounding Eurostar's failure to honour an agreement made in 2008.

The agreement sought to ensure that train managers could expect a good work-life balance with regards to unsocial hours of work and duty rosters.

RMT members voted massively in favour of strike action on the basis that Eurostar had failed to honour their commitments and the fact that work-life balance was being repeatedly undermined.

Mick Cash, RMT general secretary, said: “Our train manager members at Eurostar have a heavy commitment to shift work and unsocial hours and are sick and tired of the company’s failure to honour agreements.

“Our members have every right to have a fair work-life balance that fulfils the operational needs of the company while guaranteeing quality time off for friends and family.

"It's now time for Eurostar to come to the negotiating table with a set of proposals that honours our agreements and guarantees our members a genuine work-life balance."

More pay? No thanks

This follows research published last month by the Workforce Institute at Kronos and Coleman, revealing 45% of employees believe that the UK’s small and medium-sized (SMEs) need to focus more on giving employees a healthy work-life balance in order to boost engagement.

Shainaz Firfiray, assistant professor of organisation & HRM, said: "The work-life policies introduced by most employers emphasise organisational needs in terms of business demands and customer service while neglecting the personal needs of their employees.

"Although it is acknowledged that excessive working hours can result in poor work-life reconciliation, the Eurostar case shows that employers are often unsympathetic to the personal or family needs of their employees.

"The increased flexibility that is offered by work-life policies is frequently used as a management tool to meet fluctuating business needs rather than improve conditions for employees."