Virgin East Coast crews to strike next Monday - but trains will run without them

A Virgin East Coast train
A Virgin East Coast train
1
Have your say

RAIL WORKERS on the east coast main line through Yorkshire will stage a 24-hour strike next Monday, but their employers plan to run a full service without them.

The Rail, Maritime and Transport union called the strike at Virgin East Coast, which runs services between York, Leeds, Doncaster and London. The union had suspended industrial action in the summer but the dispute remains unresolved.

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.”

Mr Cash claimed Virgin had led the union “up the garden path when we entered talks in good faith”.

But Virgin insisted the strike had been called for “no reason” and said it would run a full timetable through the day.

The company said it was making changes to customer-facing roles which would see a single person take responsibility for the “customer experience”, adding: “This will have no impact on safety, and will result in a better experience for customers.

“Virgin Trains has also given assurances on each point raised by the union at the start of the dispute - such as ruling out any compulsory redundancies as a result of the changes.”

Managing director, David Horne, 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 walkouts, as well as during any subsequent strikes by the RMT.

“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 walkouts, these strikes will cost RMT members pay for no reason.”

The RMT accused Virgin of trying to “bulldoze through a package of cash-led measures” that would “threaten the safety regime that currently ensures a guard on every train”.