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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