New rail strikes confirmed as safety dispute continues

The union at the centre of a long-running row over rail safety has announced another day of strike action.

Wednesday, 22nd August 2018, 3:42 pm
Updated Wednesday, 22nd August 2018, 4:45 pm
The RMT has announced further days of industrial action

Rail union RMT has confirmed today that further strike action will take place on Arriva Rail North over attacks on the role of the safety-critical guard and the extension of Driver Only Operation in the name of increased profits. The scheduled programme of action from next Saturday, August 25, also goes ahead as planned. Conductors, Conductor Instructors and Train Driver members are being instructed to participate in the strikes on the following days:

- Saturday September 15 2018

- Saturday September 22 2018

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- Saturday September 29 2018

These walk-outs come in addition to the strikes already planned on:

- Saturday August 25 2018

- Saturday September 1 2018

- Saturday September 8 2018

RMT has announced the fresh wave of action after the company refused point blank to engage in serious and meaningful talks. The union accused company bosses of stringing its negotiators along rather than looking seriously for a settlement when there has been an opportunity to strike an agreement on the ‎guard guarantee that matches the best practice in the industry.

RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said: “RMT has made every effort to get serious and meaningful talks going with Northern but instead of making progress towards a settlement that matches the best practice in the rail industry as negotiated elsewhere the company have opted instead to play and fast and loose making a mockery of the exercise. It is the pig headed and arrogant attitude of the company that has forced us to announce this next phase of action and to confirm that the strikes planned from Saturday go ahead.

“RMT members on Arriva Rail North have been in dispute for well over a year now in a battle to put public safety before private profit and we are angry and frustrated that a genuine opportunity to reach an agreement has been kicked back by the company.

“German-owned Northern Rail want to run nearly half a million trains a year without a safety critical guard on board in a move that would wreck both safety and access ‎to services and they should listen to their front-line staff and pull back from that plan immediately.

"RMT recently secured an agreement on Greater Anglia that enshrine the guard guarantee. Similar agreements have also been reached in Wales and Scotland. Arriva Rail North need to do the right thing and come to an agreement that secures a guard on their trains too.

“We thank the public for their support and understanding throughout this dispute over rail safety and access and the union remains ready for genuine and serious talks.”

On its website, Northern said: "We are concentrating our efforts on running as many services as possible to keep our customers moving and will publish more details on this page as soon as we have them."