RMT steps up action against Virgin rail franchises

Nearly
2,000 RMT members on Virgin rail franchises are to be balloted on strike
action.

The
move follows the company’s refusal to negotiate on pay while a separate dispute
involving guards continues.

"Virgin
last week told our negotiating team that they will not talk about this year’s
pay round while RMT remained in dispute over the imposition of Avantix
ticketing machines," said RMT assistant general secretary Pat Sikorski.

"There
is no earthly reason why Virgin should refuse to negotiate on pay, and we will
be making a strong recommendation to our members to vote for action to bring
the company back to the negotiating table."

Meanwhile,
the union has given the company notice that action by more than 550 guards over
the imposition of the Avantix machines is to be stepped up.

"Guards
on Virgin franchises have been refusing to use Avantix ticketing machines since
they were imposed on our members, without agreement, six weeks ago," said
Sikorski.

"We
have now informed the company that from next Wednesday RMT members will not
handle any cash aboard Virgin trains until [the company] agrees to sit down and
negotiate with us as other train operators already have."

By Quentin Reade

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