Union rep fired for carrying out union duties by “19th century mill-owner” Branson


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 more than 500 members on the West Coast line on strike action after Virgin Trains fired and later suspended one of its union reps at the company’s head office in Birmingham.

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

TSSA general secretary Manuel Cortes said: “No one wants to see disruption during the Olympics and Paralympics, but Sir Richard is acting like a 19th century 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 into 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”.

More than a million extra passengers are expected to travel on the Glasgow to London line during the five weeks 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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