13 December 2017
RMT Press Office:
RMT action goes ahead on Friday on Virgin West Coast in fight over pay justice.
RAIL UNION RMT confirmed today that members on Virgin West Coast services will be taking strike action in a dispute over pay justice exactly as planned from this Friday as the company have refused point blank to make any serious moves to resolve the issue over pay and workplace justice.
At the heart of the dispute is the RMT demand for a suitable equal offer for its Virgin West Coast members to that received by drivers. Virgin have agreed a deal for drivers to buy out their claim for a one hour reduction in the base working week without loss of pay by giving an additional £500.00 on their basic salary, which is pensionable, whilst asking RMT to enter into self-financing arrangements for other grades.
All Virgin West Coast Members are instructed not to book on for any shifts that commence between: -
• 0001 and 2359 Friday 15th December 2017
In addition, further action is scheduled as follows:
• 0001 and 2359 Friday 22nd December 2017
• 0001 and 2359 Friday 5th January 2018
• 0001 and 2359 Monday 8th January 2018
• 0001 and 2359 Friday 26th January 2018
• 0001 and 2359 Monday 29th January 2018
The ballot for strike action saw a huge level of support with nearly 1800 Train Managers, On Board Catering, Station, Clerical and Retail Grades on the West Coast route from Glasgow down to Euston voting by over nine to one in favour of both strike action and action short of a strike.
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:
“Our members on Virgin West Coast are striking on Friday for workplace equality and workplace justice. The company have made no serious effort at all to resolve those issues and our action goes ahead exactly as scheduled.
“All our members are demanding is a suitable and equal offer to that given to drivers to buy out their claim for a reduction in the base working week. We have made it clear to the company that the inequality and underhanded approach of Virgin will be fought tooth and nail. We will not accept our members being dealt with less favourably than others.
“The message needs to get through to Sir Richard Branson on his luxury island retreat in the sunshine that those who are financing his lifestyle through their hard graft have had enough and are prepared to fight for justice in their workplaces.
“The union remains available for talks.”
• It was the Company who have breached the procedural agreement by breaking away and entering into separate discussions with another Union instead of holding single table negotiations whereby everyone is “treated fairly and equally”.
• It was the Company who have unilaterally breached the agreement reached in principle on 3rd July 2017, as contained within the agreed and signed minutes.
• The Company have benefited from the increased productivity already provided by frontline passenger interfacing staff.
• The Company has seen continued passenger revenues and journey growth during successive financial years and continues to make profit share payments to the DfT.*
• The Company has recorded record profits over successive years due to your dedication, hard work and commitment.*
• The Company has been able to afford an increase in the number of highly paid directors by 66.6%. and over £1.5m remuneration/benefits to directors up 16%*
• The Company have been able to increase the highest paid director’s salary by close on £50k plus other benefits in the last 3 years.*
• The Company have been able to pay out dividends to the principle shareholders amounting to £108m over the last 3 years.*
• The Company has also been able to pay out vast sums to other parts of the Virgin and Stagecoach groups on the backs of your endeavours.*
• The Company benefitted hugely by saving approximately £5.2m in pension contributions plus other savings to NI as a result of the introduction of SMART pensions as accepted by RMT members.*
• The Company’s latest Customer Satisfaction survey results maintain a high position compared to other long distance train operators. This has been achieved by the Company’s good value for money offerings and the dedication of staff.*
• The Company retained the Best UK Domestic Train Service award at the Business Traveller Awards in 2016 – off your back.*
• The number of passenger journeys has increased to 37.7million, a 6% increase from the previous financial year.*
• The Company reputation has improved due to the significant improvement in punctuality during the last financial year.*
• The registered Company profit for 2017 amounted to £51,287m up from £51,023m the previous year.*
• The Company Directors remain confident that, under the terms of the Franchise Agreement, the Company will remain profitable over its current franchise term. Based on the anticipated profitable position and forecast cash flows of the Company, the directors have a reasonable expectation that the Company has adequate resources to continue in operational existence for the current franchise term.*
• The Company due to the staffs valuable contribution to the success of the business under the Virgin brand have been awarded a further DAC taking their control and operation of the Franchise through to April 2019.
*details taken from the Companies recent sets of accounts