| 7°C Belfast

Virgin Trains East Coast strike suspended pending further discussions


A Virgin East Coast train at London's King's Cross station

A Virgin East Coast train at London's King's Cross station

A Virgin East Coast train at London's King's Cross station

A planned strike by w orkers on Virgin Trains East Coast has been suspended, the company said.

Three 24-hour strikes were set to take place in a row over jobs, working conditions and safety.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union were to walk out from 3am on Friday, August 26 and 29, and ban overtime for 48 hours from August 27.

But Virgin Trains said the union has "returned to the table for further discussions".

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.

David Horne, Virgin Trains' managing director 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 £140 million 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."

In a letter to members, RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: "S ignificant progress has been made with the company."

He added : "T his 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."