Rail staff back union negotiators in discussions over guards with operator running Wigan services

Rail staff have backed their union's negotiators and show no appetite for returning to the industrial action against a train operator which previously affected travel in Wigan for months.

RMT members gave overwhelming backing to the union in its ongoing discussions with Northern, which operates services across the borough, about retaining a guard on all services.

Other news: Safety fears at Wigan school crossing as parents call for new patrol to be appointedThe union suspended a marathon campaign of strikes after agreeing in principle that there would be two staff members on every train.

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And now members have encouraged negotiators to press ahead and reach a settlement.

A massive 95 per cent of those asked in the referendum ballot agreed with the RMT's strategy to secure what the union calls "cast-iron guarantees" on the safe running of trains, passenger safety and accessibility.

A refusal to back the negotiations could have seen the RMT revive other methods of solving the dispute.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: "Our Northern members have given our negotiators an overwhelming mandate to press on with the detailed talks with the company aimed at securing cast-iron guarantees on the role of the guard and the safest method of operation on the company trains that puts passenger safety and access‎ first.

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"RMT's objective throughout has been to ‎secure a guarantee of a guard on every train with a safety critical role including at the crucial platform/train interface at the point of despatch. That remains our focus as the talks progress."

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