Railway ticket office staff to strike

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The Independent Online

Railway ticket office staff working for Virgin Trains are to go on strike in the New Year after voting in favour of industrial action in a row over cuts, it was announced today.

Members of the Transport Salaried Staffs Association at 14 mainline stations between London Euston and Glasgow will launch a series of walkouts in January, which the union claimed would cause disruption.

More than 200 Virgin booking office staff along the West Coast line voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action.

TSSA leader Gerry Doherty said his members were striking to defend their jobs and the booking windows service to passengers.

"Virgin are just the latest of the privately owned rail companies to cut back on customer services to boost their bottom line during the recession.

"We highlighted last week what it meant to passengers at one station - Coventry - where they had to wait 30 minutes in a 100-metre long queue just to buy a ticket. That will start happening right along this busy line if management get away with these latest cutbacks."

He said the union was delaying the action so as not to disrupt holiday travel over the festive break and to also give management a chance to re-open negotiations on plans which the union fear will lead to a 10% cut in booking office jobs.

Stations due to be hit by the action are Euston, Watford, Milton Keynes, Rugby, Coventry, Birmingham International, Birmingham New Street, Wolverhampton, Stafford, Crewe, Manchester Piccadilly, Preston, Carlisle and Glasgow.

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