LONDON, April 13 Workers on one of Britain's
major rail links to Northern England and Scotland will strike
for 48 hours later this month, the transport union RMT said on
Thursday, in a growing dispute over staff roles on trains.
The action on one of Britain's biggest inter-city lines
echoes a long-running dispute on Southern rail, a major commuter
route into London, over a dispute about whose job it should be
to open and close train doors, which has spread to Liverpool and
other cities in Northern England.
Staff on Virgin Trains East Coast (VTEC), a joint venture
which is 90 percent owned by Stagecoach, are set to
strike on April 28 and 29.
The RMT said that VTEC had not offered sufficient
reassurances that train guards would keep their roles and had
failed to allay concerns over a possible switch to driver-only
"It is simply appalling that Virgin East Coast have refused
to give the most basic assurances on the safety-critical role of
the guard on their trains continuing into the future," said RMT
General Secretary Mick Cash.
The East Coast line is the main rail link between London and
Edinburgh, the Scottish capital, and it serves over 20 million
customers a year.
A spokeswoman for Virgin Trains said "we have not received
formal notification from the RMT about any industrial action."
(Reporting by Alistair Smout; editing by Kate Holton)