Passengers across Lancashire, from Blackpool to Preston and beyond, face disruption as a rail union plans action in support of sacked colleague

Commuters will be hit on Virgin Trains on Tuesday, November 19, after rail workers voted to stage a one day strike.

Friday, 1st November 2019, 2:39 pm
Updated Friday, 1st November 2019, 2:45 pm
Virgin West Coast passengers could face disruption due to a one day strike

The RMT union has confirmed that it has called a 24 hour strike on Virgin West Coast over what it called "the shocking treatment and dismissal of a colleague" that the union said was a "straightforward and vicious case of victimisation".

But bosses at Virgin say that the dismissal was justified and that only a small number of train managers voted to strike.

The action follows the dismissal of a female train manger for refusing to allow a passenger to board a train who they said was "intimidating and aggressive towards her" and had been known to staff previously.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

A person with the passenger filmed the incident and posted it online. The staff member was later sacked.

But colleagues supported the woman and have staged an overtime and rest day ban over the last few weeks.

Now the union has decided to escalate the action claiming that Virgin has "continued to resist all efforts to try to resolve this matter and see the case treated in a fair and proportionate way."

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 spokesman 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."