26 September 2016
RMT Press Office
RAIL UNION RMT today confirmed 24 hours of strike action on Virgin trains East Coast over a threat to jobs, working conditions and safety.
Trains East Coast over a threat to jobs, working conditions and safety.
The announcement comes after talks aimed at resolving a series of long-running issues at the heart of the dispute failed despite strenuous efforts by the union negotiating team.
As a result, staff have been instructed not to book on for any shifts that commence between the hours of 0001 and 2359 hours on Monday 3rd October 2016
The on-going dispute initially came to a head as the company chose to ignore the agreed negotiating machinery and subjected staff to a barrage of direct propaganda justifying their attempts to bulldoze through a package of cash-led measure that would decimate jobs, working conditions and threaten the safety regime that currently ensures a guard on every train. Nearly 200 jobs across the franchise are threatened by the cuts. Those staff remaining will be expected to do cover the work of the deleted posts piling intolerable pressure on all sections of the workforce.
RMT is aware of talk within the industry that Virgin/Stagecoach seriously overbid for the East Coast franchise when the publicly-run service was kicked out despite being hugely successful. It is thought that VTEC’s incompetence means that they are losing a fortune every week and are now looking to hack back on the staffing budget to try and prop up their position.
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:
"RMT will not sit back while nearly 200 members' jobs are under threat and while conditions and safety are put at risk by a franchise which is clearly in financial trouble. We will also not tolerate the cavalier attitude to safety that is now on show as the company mobilises its scab army of managers.
“The union suspended an earlier programme of action when it looked like serious progress was being made in talks but that process has now failed to reach a satisfactory conclusion and we are back into industrial action as a result. We have been shocked at the way the company have led us up the garden path when we entered talks in good faith. Our representatives are rightly angry at this cavalier approach.
“The company have chosen to treat the negotiations as a game up to now, merely going through the motions and playing for time. To behave like that is to treat the union and its members with pure contempt.
“Our members will not pay the price for a crisis cooked up in the Virgin/Stagecoach boardroom. The action is back on and the union remains available for serious talks .”