Virgin Trains East Coast staff to strike three times this month, including bank holiday

Workers on Virgin Trains East Coast are set to strike for three days over the rest of this month, including on the August bank holiday.

Rail union RMT has confirmed a programme of strike action on Virgin Trains East Coast, claiming a threat to jobs, working conditions and safety.

This comes after 84% of the union voted for strike action earlier this week.

The union has instructed members at Virgin Trains East Coast to take the following industrial action:

All members except depot maintenance members are instructed to take strike action by not booking on for any turns of duty scheduled to commence between the following times:

  • 3am on Friday, August 19 and 2.59am on Saturday, August 20.
  • 3am on Friday, August 26 and 2.59am on Saturday August 27.

All members except depot maintenance members are instructed to take action short of strike by not working any overtime between the following dates and times:

  • 3am on Saturday, August 27 and 2.59am on Monday, August 29.

All members except depot maintenance members are instructed to take strike action by not booking on for any turns of duty scheduled to commence between the following times:

  • 3am on Monday, August 29 and 2.59am on Tuesday, August 30.

“Outrageous intimidation”

The union has claimed that nearly 200 jobs across the franchise are threatened by cuts that are being proposed.

RMT has asked the company to give assurances on six main points:

  •  Redeployment and protection agreements will be adhered to at all times
  •  There will be no compulsory redundancies
  •  A safety-critical guard will be present on every train
  •  Confirmation of establishment staffing numbers
  •  Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations to be adhered to
  •  Rates of pay to be protected

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.

“Our members are being subject to outrageous intimidation and bullying as their trains are commandeered as part of the scabbing process.

“The company have chosen to treat the negotiations as a game thus far, merely going through the motions of pretending they did not yet know what their plans entailed. To behave like that is to treat the union and its members with pure contempt.”

Virgin Trains reassures customers

Virgin Trains has reassured customers that it will run a full timetable during the industrial action.

David Horne, Managing Director for Virgin Trains on the east coast line, 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.

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