East Coast Virgin Train workers to strike on Monday

Passengers on the East Coast Mainline service face potential disruption to services after strike action was confirmed.

Picture: TSPL
Picture: TSPL

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union employed by Virgin Trains said today that the strike action would take place between 0001 and 2359 hours on Monday 3rd October 2016.

The union said 200 jobs across the franchise are threatened by planned changes.

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Virgin Trains say they are making changes to customer-facing roles which will see a single person take responsibility for customers on trains.

The operator said the changes would have “no impact” on safety and had assured the union there would be no compulsory redundancies.

RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said: “RMT will not sit back while nearly 200 members’ jobs are under threat and while conditions and safety are put at risk by a franchise which is clearly in financial trouble. We will also not tolerate the cavalier attitude to safety that is now on show as the company mobilises its scab army of managers.

“The union suspended an earlier programme of action when it looked like serious progress was being made in talks and we have shown our commitment by continuing to try and negotiate right up to the wire today. We have made it clear that we remain available for further, serious talks and we will be meeting again with the company later next week.

“Our members will not pay the price for a crisis cooked up in the Virgin/Stagecoach boardroom. The action is on.”

Virgin Trains however said it would run a full timetable during the industrial action and that contingency plans had been put in place.

David Horne, Managing Director for Virgin Trains on the east coast said, “We have worked hard to ensure there are comprehensive contingency plans in place and I want to reassure our customers that our timetable will be unaffected during these walk-outs, as well as during any subsequent strikes by the RMT.

“The changes we are making are part of the customer-centric revolution we have planned for the east coast. We’re already more than half-way through our complete refresh of our trains with all new interiors being rolled out, and in two years will have our brand-new Azuma trains coming into service. Alongside more modern trains, we want a modern customer service proposition – one that focuses firmly on the customer.

“With our guarantees that there will be no compulsory redundancies, no impact on safety and a full timetable in place during the walk-outs, this strike will cost RMT members pay for no reason, and we urge the union to rejoin us around the negotiating table.”