Virgin Trains strike: Bank holiday walk-out suspended following talks with RMT union

Chloe Chaplain
Walkout: The strike was due to take place over the bank holiday weekend: PA

A 48-hour strike on Virgin Trains East Coast on Friday and Saturday has been suspended following progress in talks between rail and union bosses.

The National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers announced the planned strike – due to take place over the May Day bank holiday weekend – has been suspended.

The walk-out had been planned following a dispute over driver-only operation of trains.

The stoppage, due to involve RMT train guards, some station staff and a number of drivers would have hit thousands of travellers heading off for the long weekend.

The union claimed it had been given no reassurance against “the possible introduction of driver-only operation (DOO).”

A union spokesman 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.’”

Virgin Trains said it would run a near-normal timetable if the planned industrial action had gone ahead.

The company said it has made changes to customer-facing roles on board train which will see a single person take responsibility for the "customer experience".

"This will mean a better experience for customers. It also has zero impact on safety. We have repeatedly assured the RMT that the safety-critical role of the guard will remain on board, with the new train manager role taking responsibility," said a statement.

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