Virgin Trains West Coast Services Set to Experience six 24-hour Walkouts

By Virgin Trains East Coast [CC BY 3.0] via Wikimedia Commons

In a dispute regarding pay, workers of the Virgin Trains West Coast are set to hold six 24-hour strikes in December 2017 and in January 2018.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union are reported to walk out on the 15th and 22nd of December 2017, and on the 5th, 8th, 26th and 29th of January 2018.

The union said that around 1,800 train managers, station and clerical workers, and onboard catering staff, will be involved in the said action.

Virgin said that it would operate the majority of its services during the scheduled strikes.

Mick Cash, the RMT general secretary, stated: “Our members on Virgin West Coast are striking for workplace equality and workplace justice.

“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 managing director for Virgin Trains on the west coast, Phil Whittingham, stated: “The RMT leadership is attempting to cause disruption when many will want to travel by train to spend time with loved ones.

“We have explored a generous 3.6% pay increase. However the trade union’s leadership is insisting on 4%, double the 2% average increase seen across the UK this year.

“We know how important it is for friends and families to get together over the festive season, so we will keep the majority of our trains running with fully-trained staff on board and at stations. We remain open to continuing talks with the RMT.”

Virgin said that it had informally offered a 3.6 percent pay increase for 2017/18 that is backdated to April 2017, and a deal for the following year of the RPI inflation of next January plus 0.2 percent.

Virgin said: “The offer has been rejected by the RMT leadership which is insisting on a 4% increase for this year, followed by an increase the following year of RPI plus 0.25%.

“Any informal offer needs approval by the Department for Transport before being agreed.”

Train passengers take more than 37 million journeys each year on the Virgin Trains west coast route, which serves 49 stations between London and Glasgow, which includes Liverpool, Manchester, and Birmingham.