Train unions strikes called off, Virgin confirms

Planned strikes by the RMT and TSSA unions on Virgin Trains West Coast on Friday and four days in January have been called off and a full timetable will run, the company has announced.

It's good news for people travelling home for Christmas, as Virgin had previously cancelled a number of trains on Friday 22 December, which was set to cause travel chaos out of major stations.

Additionally, strikes planned for 5, 8, 26, and 29 January have all been cancelled.

Phil Whittingham, managing director for Virgin Trains on the west coast, said: "We're pleased that we've come to an agreement with the RMT and TSSA unions, and can focus on providing the best possible service to our customers.

"We'll do everything we can to run a full service on Friday, but because the strike has been called off at the last minute there may be some cancellations. We'll be working hard to make sure our customers can make it home as quickly and easily as possible for Christmas."

RMT have called off the strike. Credit: PA

Virgin Trains say customers should still revoew their journey before travelling because rosters put in place for Friday cover roles not affected by the action and will have to be completely re-drawn.

The revised timetable will not be live on Virgin Trains website until the early hours of Friday morning.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said in a message to his members: "Further to my previous correspondence, last minute talks have been held between the company and your negotiating team.

"At the conclusion of these talks, I am pleased to announce that a breakthrough has been made and it is good enough for the national executive committee, having spoken to your lead officer and representatives, to suspend tomorrow's planned strike action in order to hold a referendum of you and your colleagues.

"The action called for January has also been suspended.

"Make no mistake, without your resolve to fight for a better deal, this improved offer would not have been forthcoming and I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate you on your solidarity and resilience during this dispute. I will send you full details of the improved offer tomorrow."