RAIL UNION RMT has ordered its Virgin Trains East Coast (VTEC) members to strike for 24 hours on Monday October 3rd. The industrial action relates to a string of issues including job security, working conditions and safety. 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
What the union terms 'last-ditch talks' failed today. The union says it remains available for further talks and a meeting has been agreed between the company and RMT to take place later next week.
The on-going dispute came to a head says the Union as they claim the train company ignored the agreed negotiating machinery and "subjected staff to a barrage of direct propaganda justifying their attempts to bulldoze through a package of cash-led measures that would decimate jobs, working conditions and threaten the safety regime that currently ensures a guard on every train."
RMT estimate that some 200 jobs across the franchise are under threat. Remaining staff after the cuts, will be expected to cover the functions of the deleted posts.
The Union says it is aware is aware of 'talk within the industry' that Virgin/Stagecoach seriously overbid for the East Coast franchise when the publicly-run railway service was replaced by Virgin, despite being hugely successful.
The Union claims VTEC is losing a fortune and 'hacking back' on staffing budgets to try and prop up their financial position. The union suggests Industry rumours put the loss as around a £1 million a week as Virgin/Stagecoach took a gamble on the East Coastn inter-city franchise..
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said: "We 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 and we have shown our commitment by continuing to try and negotiate right up to the wire today. We have made it clear that we remain available for further, serious talks and we will be meeting again with the company later next week."
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