Train strikes are set to continue into November after the rail workers' union confirmed more walk-out dates in the ongoing dispute over safety.
Rail union RMT has confirmed a raft of new strike dates on Arriva Rail North over plans to introduce driver-only trains, and remove guards from their services, which RMT says is being done "in the name of increased profits."
The announcement comes as members gear up for the 31st day of strike action tomorrow (Saturday, October 13).
The long-running campaign of action grows longer as the stalemate in negotiations continues without either party making progress.
All RMT Arriva Rail North Conductor, Conductor Instructor and Train Driver members had already been instructed not to turn up for work on the following days:
- Saturday October 13
- Saturday October 20
RMT Members will now also strike on:
- Saturday October 27
- Saturday November 3
- Saturday November 10.
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said: “RMT continues to make every effort to get serious and meaningful talks going with Northern but the company are not interested and would prefer to continue to bury their heads in the sand regardless of the impact on the travelling public.
“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 has secured agreements on other English franchises 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.”
Richard Allan, Deputy Managing Director for Northern, responded to the strike announcement.
He said: “RMT’s latest announcement will mean Northern’s customers have had to endure strikes every Saturday in September, October and now in to November – this is incredibly frustrating and disappointing, and is a further blow for our regional economy.
“The RMT changed its mind about what it would discuss between the first and second meetings at ACAS, making it impossible to progress. We have offered to explore all options, including those RMT has agreed with other train operators, but they refuse to discuss these with Northern for reasons known only to them.
“We urge the RMT to suspend strikes, and get back round the table to talk about the options they agreed to discuss in the first meeting at ACAS.
“In the meantime, we will work towards running as many services as possible to minimise disruption for our customers.”