Union suspends 24-hour strikes on Virgin Trains East Coast

Virgin Trains has welcomed the decision by a rail union to suspend industrial action and return to the table for further discussions.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 16th August 2016, 5:02 pm
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 7:14 pm
A Virgin train on the East Coast mainline.
A Virgin train on the East Coast mainline.

The RMT last week announced members would walk out for three 24-hour stoppages on the East Coast route this Friday, Friday, August 26, and Bank Holiday Monday. An overtime ban was also planned on Saturday, August 27, and Sunday, August 28.

But today it suspended the walk-outs after Virgin Trains repeated its assurances to the union, including one of no compulsory redundancies, as part of changes designed to improve customer experience

The company had promised a full timetable during the stoppages.

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David Horne, Virgin Trains managing director on the East Coast route, said: “We’re pleased that the RMT has agreed to suspend industrial action and continue talks. We had put in place detailed contingency plans which would have seen our timetable run as normal, nevertheless this news will be welcomed by our customers and people.

“We’re making exciting changes on the East Coast as part of the customer-centric revolution which has seen us embark on a £140million investment programme in our trains and stations.

“We want a service that focuses firmly on the customer and look forward to discussing these further with representatives of the RMT.”

The RMT had claimed the Virgin Trains’ proposals were a threat to jobs, working conditions and safety.

But the company says it has given assurances on each point raised by the union at the start of the dispute, such as ruling out any compulsory redundancies as a result of changes to customer-facing roles.