UPDATE: Virgin Trains East Coast say strike will not seriously impact services through Peterborough

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Virgin Trains is reassuring customers that it will run a near normal timetable during the industrial action announced today, Thursday April 13, by the RMT.

The union says its members will walk-out for 48 hours on Friday April 28th and Saturday April 29 on Virgin Trains East Coast route.

However, Virgin Trains’ say detailed contingency plans mean a near normal timetable will run.

The dispute is over the role of guards and security of jobs in the future

David Horne, Managing Director for Virgin Trains on the east coast said, “We have worked hard to ensure there are comprehensive contingency plans in place and I want to reassure our customers that our timetable will be almost completely unaffected during this walk-out, as well as during any subsequent strikes by the RMT. Passengers can book and plan their journeys as normal and with confidence.

“The changes we have made are part of the customer-centric revolution that’s underway on the east coast. We’ve already completely refreshed our entire fleet of trains with all new interiors, and next year we will have our ground-breaking Azuma trains coming into service. Alongside more modern trains, we want a modern customer service proposition – one that focuses firmly on the customer.

“The on-board changes came into force on March 31st 2017. Last week – the first full week since the changes – saw us achieve our second highest customer satisfaction score since taking over the franchise, so we are confident the changes are benefitting customers.

“With our guarantees that there will be no compulsory redundancies, no impact on safety and a near normal timetable in place during the walk-outs, this pointless strike will cost RMT members pay for no reason, and we urge the union to rejoin us for further discussions.”

A union statement said: “The only response the company has offered is to repeat the vague and non-committal mantra of ‘within our discussions we have confirmed that the safety-critical duties of the guard will remain on the train’.

“This mealy-mouthed form of words gives no reassurance to RMT members in the front line nor any protection from the possible introduction of driver-only operation.”

There is no industrial action planned for Virgin Trains on the west coast.