Rail strikes still on after talks collapse

A Northern train
A Northern train
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Rail passengers in the borough will be affected by a series of strikes after talks between a union and train bosses collapsed.

The RMT will stage three walk-outs on Northern services, which run through Wigan, on January 8, 10 and 12.

The latest industrial action is part of a long-running dispute over retaining guards on the trains, which the union says is vital for passenger safety.

Northern, however, says changes being made are part of a huge modernisation programme.

After talks to avert further strikes failed the RMT hit out strongly at the company, accusing it of not being willing to enter serious negotiations.

The union's general secretary Mick Cash said: "Our members are angry and frustrated that yet again a genuine opportunity to make progress in talks yesterday has been kicked into touch by the pig-headed and intransigent attitude of Northern who simply want their staff to surrender to their demands to axe guards from half their trains regardless of the safety consequences.

"As a result the action goes ahead in defence of rail safety, access and security and the public will understand that we are fighting in the interests of rail passengers across the region.

"This dispute is about putting public safety before private profit and that is the message we will be sending out on the picket lines from Monday."

Richard Allan, Northern’s deputy managing director, said: “Northern is committed to investing in new and updated trains, better stations and faster journeys.

"During yesterday’s talks, Northern again offered to guarantee jobs and pay for conductors for the rest of our franchise to 2025 if we can reach agreement with RMT.

"The Government has also recently written to the union, guaranteeing employment for conductors beyond 2025 if RMT ends its dispute.

"Northern is concentrating on running as many services as possible for customers on the next RMT strike days on 8, 10 and 12 January.”

For more information about which services will be running on the strike days, visit www.northernrailway.co.uk/strike