Virgin Trains East Coast will be hit be three 24-hour-long strikes across August as workers on the franchise walkout in a dispute over jobs, working conditions and safety. The employees are represented by the RMT Union, which is also in dispute with Southern Rail and Eurostar.
Its members on Virgin Trains East Coast will stage the industrial action on Friday 19 August, Friday 26 August and Monday 29 August all from 3:00am BST. The RMT wants the employers to ensure guards will be present on every train and that rates of pay will be protected, among other things.
"RMT will not sit back while nearly 200 members' jobs are under threat and while conditions and safety are put at risk by a franchise which is clearly in financial trouble," said Mick Cash, the general secretary of the union.
"We will also not tolerate the cavalier attitude to safety that is now on show as the company mobilises its scab army of managers. Our members are being subject to outrageous intimidation and bullying as their trains are commandeered as part of the scabbing process."
The move comes after 84% of those balloted backed strike action, while 90% voted in favour of industrial action short of a strike, on a turnout of 62%. Virgin Trains has told its customers that it will run a full timetable during any RMT strike action.
David Horne, managing director for Virgin Trains East Coast, said: "We have worked hard to ensure there are comprehensive contingency plans in place and I want to reassure our customers that the timetable will be unaffected, should any strike go ahead.
"The changes we are making are part of the customer-centric revolution we have planned for the east coast.
"We're already half-way through our complete refresh of our trains with all new interiors being rolled out, and in two years will have our brand-new Azuma trains coming into service. Alongside more modern trains, we want a modern customer service proposition – one that focuses firmly on the customer.
"With our guarantees that there will be no compulsory redundancies, no impact on safety and a full timetable in place during any action, we urge the RMT not to call a strike which will cost its members pay for no reason, and to re-join us around the negotiating table."