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Virgin rail staff vote to strike over pay

RAIL workers on Virgin West Coast voted overwhelmingly to strike over pay yesterday.

The ballot involved nearly 1,800 train managers, on-board catering, station, clerical and retail workers on the West Coast route from Glasgow to London Euston.

Of 1,463 who voted, 1,334 opted for strikes  — more than 91 per cent on an 82 per cent turnout, with 95 per cent backing action short of a strike.

Workers want a pension and pay rise on a par with train drivers, whose increase this year included a £500 pensionable pay rise to “buy out” a one-hour reduction in the working week.

Transport union RMT’s executive will consider the next steps.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “Our members have voted overwhelmingly for action in this ballot which is all about workplace equality and workplace justice.

“All our members are demanding is a suitable and equal offer to that given to drivers to buy out their claim for a reduction in the base working week.

"We have made it clear to the company that the inequality and underhanded approach of Virgin will be fought tooth and nail.

"We will not accept our members being dealt with less favourably than others.”

He said the union “remain[s] available for serious talks aimed at righting this wrong.”

Virgin West Coast made £51.27 million profit over the last year, up from £51.02m the previous year.

A Virgin spokesman said: “We are disappointed by the result of the RMT’s ballot, but can reassure customers that we will be able to run the majority of services during any industrial action.

“We remain open to continuing talks with the RMT.”

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