Virgin train workers have voted for strike, RMT says

James Nickerson
Follow James
Virgin Trains Run In Scotland As The Company Mounts A Legal Challenge On The West Coast Main Line Rail Contract
RMT said the strike is partly over job concerns (Source: Getty)

After the misery caused by the RMT strike on Southern Rail, workers on the Virgin trains have now voted for industrial action.

Workers on Virgin East Coast have voted to strike in a dispute over jobs, working conditions and safety, the RMT rail union said.

Read more: RMT offers to suspend Southern strike - if it gets what it wants

Some 84 per cent of workers backed strike action, while nine out of 10 supported other forms of industrial action.

The union balloted members in July over possible job losses.

Virgin said it will run a full timetable during the strike (unlike the reduced service on Southern), though no dates have been set as yet.

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 the timetable will be unaffected, should any strike go ahead.

“The changes we are making are part of the customer-centric revolution we have planned for the east coast. We’re already 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 any action, we urge the RMT not to call a strike which will cost its members pay for no reason, and to rejoin us around the negotiating table.”

Read more: Business groups slam RMT's strike on Southern Rail

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: "RMT will not sit back while nearly 200 members' jobs are under threat and also conditions and safety are put at risk."

Back in July it accused the company of trying to "bulldoze through" cost-cutting measures.

The news comes as RMT workers on Southern continue a five day strike that started yesterday.

The decision by Southern to transfer control of doors to the driver – a concept familiar to millions of London Underground commuters – triggered the long-running dispute, which has seen staff-sickness levels soar. Controversially, only 393 guards were balloted on the strike action.