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Tiny Tim plays Pinocchio in union busting row

13 April 2015

Cold comfort for taxpayers paying £7 billion to upgrade First Great Western

The American boss of First Group was accused today of  "telling porky pies" in a union busting battle at First Great Western, one of the largest franchises in the UK.

Tim O'Toole, the £1.99 million a year chief executive, was depicted on  TSSA banners and leaflets as Pinocchio, the puppet who could never tell the truth.*

He has threatened to derecognise the union for managerial grades in a row over jobs and services over the axing of buffet cars on the new Hitachi trains coming into service between London and Swansea in 2017.

"We are telling the passengers and staff that FGW have simply not been telling the truth about the ending of buffet cars for the past six months, " said union general secretary Manuel Cortes.

"Senior sources at Hitachi have told us that there will be no buffet cars on the new service in two years time. There will be first class dining for first class passengers but the poor old infantry in standard class will have to rely on a trolley service.

"Four trolleys will offer micro waved sarnies but that will be worse than useless at busy times, like holidays and rugby internationals at Twickenham. They will not be able to cope with demand, it is as simple as that. Tim O'Toole and FGW should stop telling porkies and admit the truth, buffet cars are heading towards the scrap heap.

"Mr O Toole, like a lot of Yanks, is a big fan of Downton Abbey but we never thought he would want to take us back to the Edwardian era where the toffs dined first class in splendid isolation from the proles in second and third class. This is cold comfort indeed for passengers and taxpayers who are paying £7 billion towards upgrading Brunel's iconic line."

Over 40 MPs, including Lib Dems, have signed a Commons Early Day Motion criticising the planned downgrading of services on the route and calling on FGW to enter urgent talks with the TSSA over its plans for derecognition.


* Carrying placards depicting Tim O' Toole as Pinocchio, the union last weekend distributed leaflets urging passenger at Swindon and Stroud stations to join the campaign against FGW .

** Peak fares between Paddington ad Bristol have increased by 246% since rail privatisation 20 years ago, the biggest increase on any route. Tim O'Toole is the second highest paid rail boss. Only Martin Griffiths at Stagecoach earns more, £2.2 million a year.

Contact Tom Condon for further info at 07894 390480 or email him at -

For pics of Pinocchio demonstrations email -

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