RMT confirm raft of strike dates on Northern's train services
BOSSES at rail union RMT has confirmed a raft of new strike dates on Northern's train services over a row over the role guards will play when the proposed driver only operated trains are introduced.
They will strike tomorrow (Saturday, October 13), which will be the 31st day of strike action since the row started.
RMT said the long-running campaign of action takes place as the company continues “to refuse to engage in serious and meaningful talks around the guard guarantee that could form the basis for a settlement”.
All RMT Arriva Rail North conductor, conductor instructor and train driver members had been instructed to take action as follows: Not to book on for duty on Saturday, October 13; and Saturday, October 20. In addition they are now being told not to work on Saturday October 27; Saturday, November 3 and 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: "RMT's latest announcement will mean that Northern's customers have had to endure strikes every Saturday in September, October and now into 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 only known 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.''