Xmas bummer: Virgin Trains staff could strike three days before festival

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Around 1,800 workers to be involved in walkouts, says RMT

According to the Rail, Maritime and Transport Union (RMT), the workers on the Virgin West Coast line will strike six times in December and January, with one walkout planned to take place on 22 December, three days before Christmas.

The union said around 1,800 workers will be involved amid “inequality” in offers made to staff over a pay deal.

Virgin said it will run the majority of its services during the strikes.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “Our members on Virgin West Coast are striking for workplace equality and workplace justice. All our members are demanding is a suitable and equal offer to that given to drivers to buy out their claim for a reduction in the base working week.”

“We have made it clear to the company that the inequality and underhanded approach of Virgin will be fought tooth and nail. We will not accept our members being dealt with less favourably than others.”

“The message needs to get through to Sir Richard Branson on his luxury island retreat in the sunshine that those who are financing his lifestyle through their hard graft have had enough and are prepared to fight for justice in their workplaces,” Cash added.

Phil Whittingham, managing director for Virgin Trains on the west coast, said: “The RMT leadership is attempting to cause disruption when many will want to travel by train to spend time with loved ones. We have explored a generous 3.6% pay increase, however the trade union’s leadership is insisting on 4%, double the 2% average increase seen across the UK this year.”

“We know how important it is for friends and families to get together over the festive season, so we will keep the majority of our trains running with fully-trained staff on board and at stations. We remain open to continuing talks with the RMT.”

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