Virgin and Northern rail workers to strike

Virgin Trains

7:45pm 13th April 2017

Rail services are going to be hit by strike action as the Tour de Yorkshire gets under way.

Workers on Virgin Trains East Coast will walk out for 48 hours on 28 and 29 April as part of a row over jobs and the future role of guards.

Meanwhile, Northern staff will stage another 24-hour strike on 28 April.

The RMT union says that both train operators have failed to give assurances over the safety-critical role of guards on services.

It also claims that operational changes have been "bulldozed through" by Virgin Trains and there is now an additional threat to stations and travel centre staff.

Passengers are being promised a "near-normal" service during the industrial action, which the company has described as "pointless".

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 walkout, 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 under way 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 groundbreaking Azuma trains coming into service. Alongside more modern trains, we want a modern customer service proposition - one that focuses firmly on the customer."

The latest 24-hour strike involving Northern staff comes after further talks failed to reach a resolution.

Richard Allan, Deputy Managing Director of Northern, said: "We are very disappointed that the union has announced strike action for Friday 28 April. More than anything, we are sorry for the disruption it will again cause our customers, but we have robust contingency plans in place to keep our customers on the move where possible.

"Everyone has a big role to play in shaping our modernisation plans. There is a lot to discuss and we urge RMT to get back round the table with an open mind as soon as possible. In addition to protecting jobs and current pay, we are also willing to offer future, annual pay reviews for existing conductors if we can agree a deal with RMT."

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