An online fund-raiser has been launched to support of Wigan’s striking rail workers, as their industrial action looks set to continue until at least the end of the year.
Rail staff who are members of the RMT union have been staging frequent walk outs since 2017, in a dispute over Northern’s plans to introduce driver-only trains from 2020.
Walkouts had been frequent but sporadic over the course of this year, but more recently, staff have downed tools every Saturday since September, and will continue to do so until the end of December.
The RMT has persistently said that removing guards from trains presents a significant safety risk to passengers.
Picket lines outside Wigan Wallgate have been almost as common place as trains these days, but with the ongoing strikes comes a dent to rail workers’ income.
A Go Fund Me page, created by the “Wigan Wallgate Strike Committee,” has been created in a bid to support staff who are risking financial difficulties in aid of the cause.
A short statement on the crowdfunding page said: “Please donate generously to Wigan’s strike fund for striking members who have bravely taken strike action for almost two years in defence of a safe, secure and accessible railway for all, following Arriva Rail North’s decision to remove safety qualified guards from local rail services from 2020.”
Northern has persistently said that its decision to introduce driver-only trains will deliver better customer service and, in fact, keep travellers safe by allowing them to have more staff at stations.
Adding to commuters’ woes was this week’s news that the railway between Wallgate and Manchester will be closed for the next three Saturdays as Network Rail engineers complete a major upgrade.
Closing the railway between Wigan Wallgate and Manchester, via Atherton and Bolton, means Northern customers on those routes will be offered buses instead of trains.
Northern will, however, operate an hourly express service between Wigan North Western and Manchester Victoria.
Full details of the fund-raiser can be found by visiting gofundme.com and searching “Wigan Wallgate strike fund”.