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Planned strikes by Virgin Trains West Coast workers called off

Agreement reached with unions ahead of industrial action on Friday.

Planned strikes by workers on Virgin Trains West Coast on Friday and four days in January have been called off and a full timetable will run.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) and Transport Salaried Staffs Association (TSSA) were due to stage a series of walkouts in a dispute over pay, threatening disruption to passengers travelling at the start of the Christmas break.

Virgin Trains announced that industrial action affecting its services on Friday and on January 5, 8, 26 and 29 has been called off and it is planning to run a full timetable.

Phil Whittingham, managing director for Virgin Trains on the west coast, said: “We’re pleased that we’ve come to an agreement with the RMT and TSSA unions, and can focus on providing the best possible service to our customers.

“We’ll do everything we can to run a full service on Friday, but because the strike has been called off at the last minute there may be some cancellations. We’ll be working hard to make sure our customers can make it home as quickly and easily as possible for Christmas.”

Virgin Trains recommended that customers still check their journey before they travel because rosters put in place for Friday cover roles not affected by the action and will have to be completely re-drawn.

The revised timetable will not be live on Virgin Trains website until the early hours of Friday morning.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said in a message to his members: “Further to my previous correspondence, last minute talks have been held between the company and your negotiating team.

“At the conclusion of these talks, I am pleased to announce that a breakthrough has been made and it is good enough for the national executive committee, having spoken to your lead officer and representatives, to suspend tomorrow’s planned strike action in order to hold a referendum of you and your colleagues.

“The action called for January has also been suspended.

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TSSA general secretary Manuel Cortes is pleased that Virgin has made an offer (Rick Findler/PA)

“Make no mistake, without your resolve to fight for a better deal, this improved offer would not have been forthcoming and I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate you on your solidarity and resilience during this dispute. I will send you full details of the improved offer tomorrow.”

TSSA general secretary Manuel Cortes said: “I am pleased Virgin has finally seen sense, come back to the negotiating table, and made an offer sparing our passengers further disruption at a time of the year when they just want to get to be with their loved ones for Christmas.”

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