LEGAL action is being taken in a bid to get unpaid wages for hundreds of former railway workers in York.

Rail union RMT has demanded the Government steps in and ensures former Jarvis workers are paid £28 million owed to them following the collapse of the company.

The announcement comes after administrators for Jarvis, which folded in April with the loss of 350 York jobs, suggested the banks which financed the company would be repaid in full, while the workforce would not receive anything.

In a statement, the RMT said legal claims had been filed with the Employment Tribunals “on the basis that individuals were unfairly dismissed, had unlawful deductions from their wages, and that their contracts were breached”.

York MP Hugh Bayley said he supported the legal action.

“I met with Vince Cable, the Secretary of State for Business, last month to discuss the situation of the redundant Jarvis workers because I think they should be able to recover the wages due to them for the hours they worked before Jarvis pays other creditors,” he said.

“I believe employees should be treated as preferred creditors and paid first for the hours they worked.”

Bill Rawcliffe, York and District branch secretary of the RMT and a former Jarvis worker, said: “It’s scandalous. We have done that work and they kept that money. Network Rail are either sitting on our wages or they have paid it to the administrators,” he said.

“But if you ask me whether I hold out any hope for the legal action to succeed, I’d say very little.”

General Secretary of the RMT, Bob Crow, said the Government owed it to the workers to distribute the unpaid wages.

“If the Government can find tens of billions to bail out the banks then they can find the £28 million that’s owed to the Jarvis staff,” he said.

A spokesperson for Network Rail said: “All we can say at this stage is that the legal process is now in progress and Network Rail will make its response at the appropriate time.”