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Virgin Provoke Olympic Strike Ballot

2 July 2012

Britain's busiest rail route is threatened with strike action during the Olympics over Sir Richard Branson's company flouting employment law.

The TSSA is balloting over 500 members on the West Coast line for strike action after Virgin Trains fired and then later suspended one of its union reps in the company's head office in Birmingham.

The result of the ballot will be announced on July 18, nine days before the start of the Olympics. Industrial action could start a week later on the eve of the opening ceremony.

"No one wants to see disruption during the Olympics and Paralympics," said union leader Manuel Cortes.

"But Sir Richard is acting like a Victorian mill owner in the 21st century.

"Our rep, Martin Hodges, was fired for simply carrying out his trade union duties. He is now suspended on full pay because Virgin are now refusing to allow him back in to the office to resume his normal job.

"No trade union can stand aside and allow Virgin to run a hire and fire at will policy in this day and age."

The union represents white collar staff in booking offices and on board supervisory staff. Over 1 million extra passengers are expected to travel on the route between Glasgow and London during the five weeks of the Olympics and Paralympics.

Walkouts could see booking offices closed with passengers free to travel without tickets on trains. Fewer inspection staff will also be on board.


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