Rail strike will go ahead

Virgin Trains staff on the West Coast Main Line will strike tomorrow in a pay and work conditions dispute
Virgin Trains staff on the West Coast Main Line will strike tomorrow in a pay and work conditions dispute

Staff at a major train firm, whose routes connect Wigan to the country’s biggest cities, will down tools tomorrow in an industrial dispute.

Attempts to prevent the walk-out by RMT members of Virgin Trains working on the West Coast Main Line ended in failure.

Employees working on the main line, which runs through Wigan North Western station and allows travellers from the borough to get to destinations including London and Birmingham, will not book on for any shifts tomorrow.

The 24-hour strike goes ahead as the union accused Virgin Trains of making no serious attempts to resolve the issues over pay and workplace justice.

However, there was better news for bus passengers today after it was confirmed all further industrial action among Arriva staff has been cancelled.

Drivers at 11 depots across the region, including Skelmersdale, have agreed a new pay deal.

Phil Stone, managing director of Arriva North West, said: “We are delighted that our latest offer of a two-year pay agreement has been accepted by our drivers.

“This new agreement means our passengers no longer face the prospect of disruption in the run-up to Christmas.

“We hold our drivers in the highest regard and this pay offer is a demonstration of our commitment to invest in our workforce. We apologise to our passengers for the disruption over recent weeks and are delighted we can now return to delivering the best possible service to our passengers and the local economy.”

The train dispute could rumble on into the New Year with five further days of industrial action on the West Coast Mainline scheduled for

December and January.

RMT wants all Virgin staff to receive the same deal recently offered to drivers, allowing them to buy out their claim for a one-hour reduction in their working week without losing pay by adding £500 to their basic salary which is also pensionable.

Staff are set to walk out on Friday December 22, Friday January 5, Monday January 8, Friday January 26 and Monday January 29.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “All our members are demanding is a suitable and equal offer.”