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Julian Bray provides: Opinion, comment, forward thinking speculation on Travel, Cruise & Aviation: conflict zones, terrorist impact, drone (UAV) issues, safety (black boxes, emergencies), airline operations, aviation finance, political implications, and all forms of incident risk. Worked at board level with several airline and aviation groups, including Alitalia, British Island Airways, British Airways, Galileo , British Aerospace, Skyways, former CEO City firm Leadenhall Assoc. Founder CNS City News Service. Director NTN Television News (joint co. with ITV Wales TWW) Debretts People 2017 and in launch edition of PRWeek Black Book.

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Thursday, 13 April 2017

Virgin Trains through Peterborough will strike for 48 hours on April 28 and 29 over role of guards and safety.


 
 
Virgin Trains East Coast travelling staff in the UK are to stage a 48-hour strike in a dispute over the role of guards and jobs, says the RMT union.
 
Staff will walk out for 48 - hours on April 28 and 29 April, this latest development follows recent strikes affecting three other train operators in disputes over staffing, safety and working conditions.

The union is seeking  "explicit clarification" from Virgin Trains on the future role of guards on trains. The train operator provides services though Peterborough and between London, north-east England and Scotland, on what is known as the East Coast Main Line.

Meanwhile Virgin Trains claim they have yet to receive formal notice of industrial action by RMT members.
A tersely worded 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."

A Virgin Trains spokesman said consultation over "widespread on-board changes" had been going on for more than a year, adding that the company had implemented the changes from March without a formal agreement.

Mick Cash, RMT general secretary noted: "It is simply appalling that Virgin East Coast have refused to give the most basic assurances on the safety-critical role of the guard on their trains continuing into the future." 

"Consultation over widespread on-board changes has been going on for over a year. RMT has told the employer that their proposed changes will not work. Despite this, the company has implemented the changes from March 31st, with no agreement with the union. The new service is not fit for purpose and has turned into a chaotic shambles, with untrained staff forced into roles and the whole train crew left to work it out for themselves.

"Passenger complaints have soared and the employer has responded on its official Twitter feed by disgracefully blaming staff sickness for problems that are wholly down to Virgin/Stagecoach. The employer is now also planning to force through dramatic changes to stations and travel centres. RMT has made it crystal clear that the union will not stand by and accept the spread of chaos to other vital departments within the company.

 "In light of all the above, RMT’s executive has agreed to instruct our members at VTEC (except engineering grades) to take 48 hours of strike action by not booking on for any turns of duty scheduled to commence between 00.01 hours on Friday 28th April 2017 and 23.59 hours on Saturday 29th April 2017."

The RMT is currently in dispute over staffing and driver-only trains with Southern, Merseyrail and Arriva Trains North.

In  an escalation of the long running disputes RMT members  recently staged a 24-hour stoppages on Grand National day.

The winning nag was later asked for a comment, all he would say is 'Please don't strike furlong' [Ed: abject apologies..]




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