Peterborough commuters to face delays if Virgin Trains staff strike over cuts

Virgin Trains is planning to cut its travel centre staff by 15%, affecting stations between London and Scotland, it has been claimed.

Thursday, 21st July 2016, 4:30 pm
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 7:13 pm
Virgin marked train passing through Peterborough Train Station EMN-150103-190007009

The Transport Salaried Staffs Association (TSSA) said the plans by Virgin Trains East Coast would lead to the loss of 31 travel centre jobs and 15 station staff, and warned of possible industrial action.

The cuts will affect stations between London King’s Cross and Edinburgh and would probably hit Peterborough, Doncaster, Wakefield, Leeds, York and Newcastle, as well as Edinburgh and London, said the union.

A memo to staff said the centres would be replaced by open plan “customer zones” where staff will advise and help passengers buy tickets through machines and redundancies would be on a voluntary basis, the TSSA said.

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General secretary Manuel Cortes said: “This looks like another cost-cutting exercise at the expense of passengers and staff, all dressed up as improving customer service.

“It looks to us it will mean longer queues and more expensive tickets because we have not yet got the technology to sell the whole range of tickets through had held machines.

“Coming on top of what is happening at Southern, there seems a wider agenda here of attacking staffing conditions across other franchises.

“Our members are clearly unhappy about what is happening and we will have to consult them about what to do next. A ballot on industrial action cannot be ruled out.”