`Bullied' rail staff ballot on strike headliney

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The Independent Online
HUNDREDS OF white-collar workers at a privatised rail company are to vote on a one-day strike in protest at the company's alleged "culture of bullying", it was announced yesterday.

If the ticket-office staff, clerical and technical workers at Connex walk out it will be their union's first day of action since the 1926 general strike.

The Transport Salaried Staffs Association warned it will ballot 800 workers from 1 February unless Connex agrees to an independent study into allegations of bullying.

A recent union survey of staff at Connex, the French-owned operator of commuter services across south-east England, showed high levels of stress, overwork and unhappiness. "We have been trying for months to make Connex understand the effects that poor senior management and constant bullying are having on staff morale and service levels," said Jon Allen, assistant general secretary of the TSSA.

"This isn't an old-fashioned dispute about pay but a cry for help from staff who can't stand being treated like this any longer."

A Connex spokesman denied there was any bullying in the company.