Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) were due to walk out on Virgin Trains East Coast this Friday and Saturday (18th-29th April) in a dispute over the role of guards and other issues. Following progress in talks, the RMT union has suspended its planned 48-hour strike. Virgin had said it would have run a normal service if the strike had gone ahead rendering the proposed industrial action somewhat ineffectual.
General Secretary of the RMT, Mick Cash, said in a message to the union’s members that Virgin had confirmed that a train manager will be on every passenger service, carrying out safety critical duties previously carried out by the guard. He assured members that the company does not intend to change this and that there would be no compulsory redundancies as a result of the changes.
Managing Director of the Virgin Trains East Coast route, David Horne, 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.”
Since taking over the east coast franchise in 2015, Virgin Trains has embarked on a £140m investment programme in its trains and stations. Next year Virgin Trains is planning to introduce a new fleet of faster, more energy efficient Azuma trains.