Rail union confirms further strike action

Rain union RMT have today confirmed a further two days of strike action on Northern Rail.

Tuesday, 20th March 2018, 8:22 am
Updated Tuesday, 20th March 2018, 8:25 am
The union will strike again next week

Members continue to strike against attacks on the role of the safety-critical guard and the extension of driver only operation in the name of increased profits.

The union has said that the company continues to "snub" calls for meaningful talks.

RMT members have been instructed not to book on for any shifts that start between 12.01am and 23.59pm on Monday, March 26 and Thursday, March 29.

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The union has demanded tripartite talks with the company and the Department for Transport aimed at reaching a solution but has reportedly received "no positive response" to that call.

RMT has repeatedly pointed out that the move by German-owned Arriva Rail North to expand Driver Only Operation will mean nearly half a million trains running annually without a safety critical guard on board. The union has also claimed that there is nothing in Arriva’s franchise agreement that requires them to axe guards from Northern trains and that the decision is wholly theirs alone.

Mick Cash, RMT general secretary, said: “Every single effort that RMT has made to reach a negotiated settlement with Northern Rail over safe operation and safe staffing has been kicked back in our faces. No one should be in any doubt, this dispute is about putting the safety of the travelling public before the profits of the private train companies.

“It is frankly ludicrous that we have been able to negotiate long-term arrangements in Scotland and Wales that protect the guards and passenger safety but we are being denied the same opportunities with rail companies in England.

“Theresa May and Chris Grayling are happy to stand aside and cheer on overseas rail companies that rip-off the British passenger with eye-watering far increases to subsidise their domestic transport operations while throwing the guards off our trains. If it’s good enough for Wales and Scotland to put safety first then it’s good enough for the rest of the UK.

“RMT remains ready for the talks we have suggested.”