RAil work­ers vote for strike

84 per cent of rail union mem­bers sup­port in­dus­trial ac­tion on Vir­gin Trains East Coast over threat of job cuts

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - News - By Paul Grin­nell paul.grin­nell@jpress.co.uk Twit­ter: @Peter­bor­oughTel

Rail work­ers with train op­er­a­tor Vir­gin Trains East Coast have voted in favour of strike ac­tion in protest at what they claim is a threat to jobs. Of­fi­cial­soft­herail unionRMT say 84per­centofits mem­bers voted for strike ac­tion in a bid to safe­guard jobs un­der pro­posed changes to work­ing con­di­tions.

And about 90 per cent of mem­ber­shavevote­d­in­favour of in­dus­trial ac­tion short of a strike.

There­sult will now­be­con­sid­ered by the union’s ex­ec­u­tive be­fore any ac­tion takes place.

But­bosses of Vir­gin Trains have pledged that there will not be any com­pul­sory job losses.

They have also vowed to run a full timetable of train ser­vices if RMTmem­ber­stake strike ac­tion.

RMT claims about 200 jobs are threat­ened by cuts pro­posed by the firm, which op­er­ates the East Coast main­li­ne­ser­vices­be­tweenLon­don, Peter­bor­ough, Gran­thamand the North.

The union is an­gry at what it says are cash-led mea­sures that will harm jobs and the way the com­pany is com­mu­ni­cat­ing di­rectly with staff in­stead of through the union.

RMT gen­eral sec­re­tary Mick Cash said: “RMT will not sit back while nearly 200 mem­bers’ j obs are un­der threat and while con­di­tions and safety are put at risk by a fran­chise which is clearly in fi­nan­cial trou­ble.

“RMT is aware that man­age­ment are putting out reg­u­lar pro­pa­ganda mes­sages to their em­ploy­ees, to jus­tify the com­pany’s at­tempts to at­tack job se­cu­rity, terms and­condi- tions of em­ploy­men­tand­cur­rent work­ing prac­tices.

“RMT’s view is clear. Long­standin­ga­gree­ments­be­tween our two or­gan­i­sa­tions dic­tate thatthe­com­pa­ny­must­ne­go­ti­ate with RMT, as a recog­nised trade union to those agree­ments.”

“We will now be con­sid­er­ing the mas­sive man­date for ac­tion de­liv­ered by our mem­bers in this bal­lot and the union re­mains avail­able for se­ri­ous talks.”

A spokesman for Vir­gin Trains said: “Vir­gin Trains is mak­ing changes to cus­tom- er-fac­ing roles which will see a sin­gle per­son take re­spon­si­bil­ity for the­cus­tomer­ex­pe­ri­ence on our trains.

“This will have no im­pact on safety, and will re­sult in a bet­ter­ex­pe­ri­ence­for­cus­tomers.

“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.

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 cus­tomer­centric revo­lu­tion we have planned for the East Coast.

“We’re al­ready half-way throughour­com­pletere­fresh of our trains with all newin­te­ri­ors be­ing rolled out, and in twoyear­swill haveour­brand­new Azuma trains com­ing into ser­vice.

“Along­side more mod­ern trains, we­wan­ta­mod­ern­cus­tomer 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 which­will­cos­titsmem­bers pay for no rea­son, and to re­join us around the ne­go­ti­at­ing ta­ble.”

The strike would in­volve Vir­gin East Coast ser­vices through Peter­bor­ough

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