Rail unions and London Midland are meeting today for emergency talks over up to 200 job losses as a summer of discontent for travellers across the region loomed closer.
RMT Midlands regional organiser Ken Usher has accused the Birmingham-based rail firm of 'living in cloud cuckoo land,' with negotiations to prevent a ballot for strike action close to collapse.
Mr Usher revealed that up to 200 jobs, including revenue protection and administrative staff, were at risk and said the RMT would pursue employment tribunals for protective awards if the job losses were ordered.
The RMT leader raised the stakes in the war of words over potential strike action as the two sides prepared for the latest round of talks at London Midland's headquarters in New Street.
"Following the talks last week, the reports back from my guys were they were totally frustrated and angry at the company's lack of professionalism and approach to the serious situation we are now facing,'' said Mr Usher.
"The company's proposals are ill thought out and cobbled together. We feel that no progress was made and we are banging our heads against a brick wall.
"We have put together counter proposals where there would be reduced numbers but there would be no need for compulsory redundancies and displaced staff would be accommodated elsewhere.
"But last week the company told us what they really needed was flexibility with staff on permanent standby, without recognised terms and conditions - they would be on call at a moment's notice. That is not going to happen in any industry.
"There are up to 200 staff in total affected by this. The company told the BBC that talks have been going swimmingly with excellent progress made - they are living in cloud cuckoo land."
London Midland spokeswomen Lindsey Preece said: "We are still in a position of consultations at the moment and we hope to be in a position where we can make progress. It would be unfair to make further comment."