Rates of Pay and Conditions of Service 2017 – Virgin Trains East Coast

To all VTEC Members


Dear Colleagues,

Rates of Pay and Conditions of Service 2017 – Virgin Trains East Coast

You will probably have received a letter from the Customer Experience Director, Claire Ansley, whom seems to feel it fine to put out misinformation to RMT members to try and influence the way you vote.

It is a very strange letter to say the least as she seems to obsess about your new uniforms. In her last attempt to influence you she stated ‘….and looking better than ever in our fantastic new uniforms’ and in this one apparently ‘Many of you are buzzing from the new uniforms and I’ve noticed a new spring in your step’  I have to say I haven’t seen anything as patronising in a long time. To suggest you should be happy with your lot because you have a new uniform is unbelievable to say the least. To say it once is strange, twice downright odd! I suppose the manager’s title says it all ‘Customer Experience Director’ – for this manager it’s all about the customer not the hard working staff – you.

Claire Ansley also gives a very skewed and inaccurate depiction of the company’s pay offer and in particular, completely lies about the meeting which took place on 22nd November. The meeting was an attempt by the Senior Assistant General Secretary Steve Hedley and Sean McGowan the Union’s Lead Officer for VTEC, to get the company to drop the strings in the pay offer and to treat all staff equally. After all there are no strings attached to the drivers pay offer so why should there be for you?

During this meeting, management were repeatedly asked to provide statistics about how their proposals would benefit the company. Quite embarrassing for them, they were unable to do so. The meeting ended with management saying they would write to us with a clarification of their offer the next day. This clarification did not remove the changes to your sick pay and as a result the union immediately advised management that if this was their offer then we would be recommending an immediate ballot for industrial action. The form of words used by management was then changed somewhat but still did not come near to meeting the aspirations of the RMT National Executive Committee or your senior representatives who overwhelmingly rejected managements latest document after consulting you - our members.

It seems that instead of trying to reach a solution management are intent on creating a two tier workforce, telling untruths about the RMT officials and creating divisions by imposing pay. We as a trade union will not sit by and allow you to be treated in this arbitrary and discriminatory way.

And again the Customer led threat ‘Our customers want certainty and I don’t want you to lose pay for an unnecessary dispute. A strike will damage our business – it will do nothing else’. It’s quite simple if VTEC stop trying to remove your hard earned terms and conditions, try and look after their staff and not just their customers and shareholders, then there will be no dispute.

I would again like to make something very clear about your right to vote. Irrespective of whether you have opted in, opted out, or had the pay imposed,   you are entitled to vote in this ballot. Your union has not accepted the imposition of pay or the changes to your long standing and hard earned terms and conditions. Nor do we accept this is the final position. Do not be misled – you are entitled to vote, we want you to vote and we want you to stand shoulder to shoulder with your colleagues and vote ‘YES’ for both strike action and action short of a strike.

Please treat this letter from the Customer Experience Director with the contempt it deserves. This Union remains available to meet management at the drop of a hat and indeed I have written to them again today seeking immediate discussions.

Ballot papers are being despatched to your home address today. It is imperative that you vote. Vote ‘YES’ for strike action and action short of a strike.


Yours sincerely,


Mick Cash General Secretary