Union back on picket line as train strike hits Wigan
Wigan rail employees were on the picket line this morning in the latest round of industrial action over a long-running safety dispute.
The RMT demonstrated outside Wallgate station today (Tuesday) on the first of three strike days this week in protest at plans to remove guards from trains.
Other news: Wigan cocaine ring swoop leads to hefty jail termsEmployees with train operator Northern will also walk out on Thursday and Saturday.
The disruption for Wigan passengers in the latest of a rolling programme of strike action which has now been going on for a couple of days each month for more than a year.
A solution to the dispute still looks some way off, though, with the RMT once again lashing out at the rail companies and blaming them for any problems experienced by passengers.
The union's general secretary Mick Cash said: "RMT members on Northern Rail stand rock solid and united once again this morning in this long-running dispute which is about putting public safety and access before private profit on our railways.
"RMT is angry and frustrated that while we are making some progress in discussions in similar safety disputes Arriva refuse point blank to engage with the union in any meaningful fashion. That is a disgrace and speaks volumes about the attitude of this company.
"Northern is an outfit that has chosen to declare war on passengers and staff alike through their profit-driven incompetence and we are proud that RMT members are standing up for safe and accessible rail travel for all in this week's action.
"It is ludicrous that we have been able to negotiate agreements in Wales and Scotland that lock in the guard guarantee but we are being stopped by German-owned Arriva from reaching the same settlement across the North of England. I am challenging the company today to get their heads out of the sand and get back round the table.
"RMT members at Arriva Rail North have shown extraordinary resilience and determination in the fight for rail safety and we thank the public for their continuing support and understanding."
Northern says it is concentrating on running as many services as possible between 7am and 7pm on the strike days to ensure minimum disruption for commuters.
However, the company admitted some disruption is inevitable and warned passengers to allow extra time for journeys.
For more information, including the full revised timetables for the industrial action, visit www.northernrailway.co.uk/strike