Wigan set for rail strikes after union announces industrial action on Virgin West Coast line

Commuters travelling from Wigan North Western could be hit by fresh travel disruption after rail union RMT announced a 24 hour strike which will take place later this month.

Friday, 1st November 2019, 12:26 pm
New industrial action announced for the Virgin West Coast line

RMT has confirmed today that it has called a 24 hour strike on Virgin West Coast line, which passes through Wigan North Western, over the "shocking treatment and dismissal of a colleague" that the union says is a "straightforward and vicious case of victimisation."

A statement from the union said: "RMT has congratulated members for their solid and united support for their colleague who has been so disgracefully treated by Virgin West Coast. An overtime and rest day ban over the last few weeks has been rock solid in spite of various efforts to mislead, intimidate and harass members in clear underhand tactics to undermine it."Despite this, management continue to resist all efforts to try to resolve this matter and see the case treated in a fair and proportionate way. Management have upped the ante by resisting reasonable union requests to release our Train Manager Company Council reps to try to discuss the ongoing dispute. "RMT is clear that Virgin West Coast have acted in an entirely arrogant and belligerent manner and we will not allow this to continue. The unions National Executive Committee has considered this matter again and, having taken on board the views of local representatives, has decided to suspend the current overtime and rest day ban and call strike action as below: -

"All Train Manager members are instructed not to book on for any duties that commence between 00.01 hours and 23.59 hours on Tuesday 19th November 2019.

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RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “I urge all Virgin West Coast members to continue their magnificent solidarity and support for our colleague who has been treated so disgracefully. We cannot allow this appalling situation to continue and our member must be reinstated.“It is time for the company to stop their aggressive and bullying tactics and sit down with us and right this wrong which has angered staff across the West Coast franchise.”

A Virgin Trains spokesperson said: "This strike action is completely unjustified and was only backed by a minority of train managers. We have robust contingencies in place and plan to run the majority of our trains. This means RMT members will be losing pay for no reason, and despite not supporting strike action.

The incident which led to a train manager being dismissed for gross misconduct was widely reported on social media and involved a disabled customer who was prevented from boarding one of our trains. We take our responsibilities to disabled passengers extremely seriously and will not hesitate to act if we feel it is necessary."