1. ITV Report

Virgin Trains East Coast workers suspend strike action

A Virgin train at Newcastle Central Station Credit: Owen Humphreys/PA Archive/Press Association Images

A planned strike by workers on Virgin Trains East Coast has been suspended, the rail franchise confirmed.

Members of the RMT union were due to stage three 24-hour strikes over August bank holiday weekend in a row over jobs, working conditions and safety.

However, Virgin Trains said the union has "returned to the table for further discussions" and welcomed the decision to suspend industrial action.

David Horne, Managing Director for Virgin Trains on the East Coast route, said:

We're pleased that the RMT has agreed to suspend industrial action and continue talks. We had put in place detailed contingency plans which would have seen our timetable run as normal, nevertheless this news will be welcomed by our customers and people.

We're making exciting changes on the east coast as part of the customer-centric revolution which has seen us embark on a £140m investment programme in our trains and stations.

We want a service that focuses firmly on the customer and look forward to discussing these further with representatives of the RMT.

– David Horne

In a letter to members, RMT general secretary Mick Cash said:

Significant progress has been made with the company.

This does not mean the dispute has been completely resolved. It has allowed your union representatives to go back into talks with management and to extend the deadline for taking industrial action to a further 28 days.

– Mick Cash

The RMT said almost 200 jobs are threatened at Virgin Trains East Coast.

The dispute involves around 1,800 of its members, including guards, station staff and some drivers.

Virgin Trains had reassured customers it would run a full timetable during the industrial action.