5 December 2017
RMT Press Office:
RMT ballot opens this week on Virgin East Coast over attempt to impose two-tier workforce as Government plan multi-million pound company bail-out.
RAIL UNION RMT confirmed today that balloting of members for both strike action and action short of a strike on Virgin East Coast will begin this week after the company decided to impose a pay offer that had previously been rejected by the workforce.
The news of the ballot comes just a week after it emerged that Virgin East Coast are being lined up for a massive taxpayer bail-out running to hundreds of millions of pounds on a franchise that has been riddled with problems since the public sector operation was scrapped and Virgin/Stagecoach were handed the keys.
The offer sought to impose inferior conditions under further productivity and efficiency savings and unilateral changes to working conditions including sick pay arrangements, despite an ongoing reorganisation that has already given the business many savings for this and future years.
Terms and conditions of hand-selected grades are being attacked, with others being better rewarded and left alone.
Voting papers will be send to members on Friday 8th December 2017 and the ballot will close on Wednesday 20th December 2017
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:
“We will not stand by while Virgin East Coast attempt to impose a two tier workforce with different terms and conditions for our members. Virgin East Coast are also seeking to unilaterally enforce changes to working and conditions, including sick pay arrangements, which would have a major impact on our members working lives.
“The pay offer was put to our members and they rejected it by a large majority. Instead of negotiating the company has sought to impose the offer. Therefore RMT is now beginning the ballot for industrial action for our Virgin Trains East Coast members.
“Our members must not be forced to pay the price for the gross financial mismanagement of this franchise which now sees Virgin/Stagecoach being lined up for a taxpayer-funded rescue operation by the Government to the tune of hundreds of millions of pounds. It’s about time we got our priorities right on Britain’s railways.
“The union remains available for talks.”