Caledonian Sleeper cancels Inverness-London services on October 4 and 5 in response to 48-hour strike by the RMT transport union; cancellations affect all of Serco's Caledonian Sleeper services on those two days
Get the Inverness Courier sent to your inbox every week and swipe through an exact replica of the day's newspaper
STRIKE action has forced the cancellation of all Caledonian Sleeper rail services to and from Inverness this Sunday and Monday – and further disruption the following weekend cannot be ruled out.
The cancellations come in response to the RMT's planned industrial action over service operator Serco's "lack of concern for members' safety and wellbeing".
The union previously flagged concerns over insufficient berths for rest periods, and argued that the company had failed to address issues about high fatigue levels among the staff.
Confirming the cancellation of all services on October 4 and 5 in response to the 48-hour strike, a spokesman for the Caledonian Sleeper said: "All guests who have booked directly with Caledonian Sleeper will be contacted and receive an automatic refund to the card that was used to make the reservation.
"These refunds shall be processed by Friday, October 2 and can take up to five working days to show on the account.
"If you have booked your travel through a third party please contact them directly to arrange a refund.
"We apologies for the inconvenience this will undoubtedly cause."
Further strike action is planned by the RMT on Sunday and Monday, October 11 and 12.
Caledonian Sleeper bosses say they "remain in discussions" with the union to try to avert a strike, but have warned of similar disruption if it also proceeds.
"Whilst we remain in discussions with them to try and avoid a strike we need to advise you that if it does go ahead, all of our services departing on Sunday and Monday, October 11 and 12 will be cancelled," added the spokesman.
"If we do need to cancel services on these dates we shall make contact with guests who we have contact information for and advice guests to check back to the service alterations page prior to travel."
The strike disruption is the latest issue to hit Serco's operation of the franchise. New replacement carriages suffered delivery delays, faults that were identified in the fleet took longer than hoped to fix, and last October the company topped the list for most customer complaints of any rail franchise in the UK.