Virgin East coast staff vote on strike

PA

Virgin Trains East Coast staff are balloted for industrial action in a dispute over wages and working conditions.

The Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union said the bad conditions of the employees, as well as changes in the working conditions and sick pay.

If members vote for strike, walkouts could take place early in the new year.

Virgin Trains East Coast said it was disappointed the offer of a “very fair 3.2% wage increase” was not accepted.

The vote ends on the 20th of December, comes days after it was announced that the East Coast franchise, which runs between London, north-east England and Scotland, at the end of three years earlier than the year 2020.
‘Gross financial mismanagement’

The decision caused financial woes across the industry as a franchise business, a partnership between Stagecoach and Virgin, had agreed to pay the government £the service is running 3.3 bn until 2023.

RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said that the company had “tried to impose” a pay offer and it was rejected by a large majority of its members.

The Union said the terms and conditions of hand-selected varieties were attacked by””, while others are rewarded as “better left alone”.

He said approximately 2,000 members have been balloted and all the crew members drop the staff, including the train Manager, driver and on-board catering workers.

Mr cash said: “Our members must not be forced to pay the price for the gross financial mismanagement of this franchise, which now sees the Virgin/Stagecoach will be lined up to a taxpayer-funded bailout by the government in the amount of hundreds of millions of pounds.”

A Virgin Trains spokesman said: “We can assure customers that we expect that we will be able to lead a near-normal service in the event of a labor dispute.”

Both virgin and the RMT said, she stayed for interviews.

The Department for Transport said financial obligations with the East Coast operator.