UPDATE: Dates announced for Virgin Trains East Coast staff to go on strike this month

Virgin marked train passing through  Peterborough Train Station EMN-150103-190007009

Virgin marked train passing through Peterborough Train Station EMN-150103-190007009

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Staff on Virgin Trains East Coast will go on strike this month over a threat to jobs, working conditions and safety, the rail union RMT has announced today, Friday August 12.

The union has instructed members at Virgin Trains East Coast to take industrial action as follows:

All members EXCEPT depot maintenance members are instructed to take strike action by NOT booking on for any turns of duty scheduled to commence between the following times:

*03.00 hours on Friday 19th August and 02.59 hours on Saturday August 20th 2016.

*03.00 hours on Friday 26th August and 02.59 hours on Saturday August 27th 2016.

All members EXCEPT depot maintenance members are instructed to take action short of strike by not working any overtime between the following dates and times:

*03.00 hours on Saturday 27th August and 02.59 hours on Monday 29th August 2016.

All members EXCEPT depot maintenance members are instructed to take strike action by NOT booking on for any turns of duty scheduled to commence between the following times:

*03.00 hours on Monday 29th August and 02.59 hours on Tuesday August 30th 2016.

A spokesman for RMT said: “The ongoing dispute came to a head as the company chose to ignore the agreed negotiating machinery and subjected staff to a barrage of direct propaganda justifying their attempts to bulldoze through a package of cash-led measure that would decimate jobs, working conditions and threaten the safety regime that currently ensures a guard on every train. Nearly 200 jobs across the franchise are threatened by the cuts.

“The union has also reacted furiously to news that VTEC trains are being commandeered from the current crews in order to train up a ramshackle and under-trained scab army of managers from East Midlands Trains. That process has been going in for some time now as the company ramp up a strike breaking plan that the travelling public have now knowledge of, leaving passengers paying a fortune to travel on trains that the union says are inherently unsafe. Members have also been subject to bullying and intimidation as part of the commandeering process of their trains.

“Safety and route training plans are being pared back to get the managers from East Midlands Trains in place in a move that makes a total mockery of the existing rail safety regime and which proves that the company are happy to cut corners to try and smash the workforce into a corner rather than addressing the union concerns.

“RMT is aware of talk within the industry that Virgin/Stagecoach seriously overbid for the East Coast franchise when the publicly-run service was kicked out despite being hugely successful. It is thought that VTEC’s incompetence means that they are losing a fortune every week and are now looking to hack back on the staffing budget to try and prop up their position.”