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26.09.16

Virgin East Coast set for 24-hour strike

Staff on Virgin East Coast are due to strike for 24 hours on 3 October after RMT announced industrial action.

The union said the strike was because Virgin was threatening to cut nearly 200 jobs, and that the company is suffering financial losses from overbidding for the East Coast franchise.

Virgin said it could guarantee a normal timetable during the strikes because of “detailed contingency plans”.

Mick Cash, general secretary of RMT, said: “Our members will not pay the price for a crisis cooked up in the Virgin/Stagecoach boardroom. The action is back on and the union remains available for serious talks.”

RMT initially announced three separate strikes in August, but agreed to suspend them after saying “significant progress” had been made in negotiations.

But Cash said Virgin had “led [RMT] up the garden path” in talks, leading to the resumed strikes.

David Horne, managing director for Virgin Trains on the East Coast, said the changes were part of a “customer-centric revolution” and urged RMT to “rejoin [Virgin] around the negotiating table”.

Virgin East Coast trains currently have two senior roles in the on-board team – the head of crew and the train guard. Under the plans, the roles will be merged to form one head of customer relations.

A Virgin East Coast spokesperson told RTM that the company was planning to offer staff voluntary redundancies to make way for the roles, but they said it was “fairly confident” there would be no compulsory redundancies.

RMT has also announced a programme of 14 days of strikes as part of its ongoing dispute with Southern, beginning on 11 October.

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Comments

Andrew Gwilt   26/09/2016 at 23:12

As the strikes will happen on Virgin Trains East Coast. I think it will affect Grand Central, GTR Great Northern and Hull Trains aswell Northern and Transpennine Express unless the strikes won't affect any services but only on VTEC services in & out of London Kings Cross and across North of England.

Jerry Alderson   27/09/2016 at 13:05

RTM: "Virgin East Coast trains currently have two senior roles in the on-board team – the head of crew and the train guard. Under the plans, the roles will be merged to form one head of customer relations." I, for one, would find it useful to understand the crew on a VTEC screen. Also, it's not clear if ther plans include the train driver doing more of the operational role. I assume that at most of the stations that VTEC trains call at the staiton staff dispatch the trains. RTM: "the company was planning to offer staff voluntary redundancies to make way for the roles, but they said it was “fairly confident” there would be no compulsory redundancies." So why a srtrike then? Because it is not 100% certain that there wil be no compulsory reduncancies - in which case why not wait until it is announced - or because the remaining staff would have to work harder? If neither then isn't this a good thing for the railway economics (i.e. creating a value-for-money sustainable railway increasing job security) and therefore the farepayer and taxpayer? Any chance of more info, RTM?

Jerry Alderson (Fix Typo On Previous)   27/09/2016 at 13:07

I meant "I, for one, would find it useful to understand the [composition of the] crew on a VTEC train."

Martin T   29/09/2016 at 16:21

RMT website says "VTEC trains are being commandeered from the current crews in order to train up a ramshackle and under-trained scab army of managers from East Midlands Trains." The s-word was frequently used in the 1970s but rarely heard these days. With Southern dispute going wrong way for RMT's Mick Cash, having boxed himself into a corner with no way ot negotiate out of it, he seems to be getting desperate as he fights to save his job.

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