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Northern Rail staff to strike over jobs and safety

Northern Rail train at Newcastle Central Station. Credit: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire

Workers on Northern Rail have voted to go on strike in a row over jobs and safety.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union backed walkouts by 80% and other forms of industrial action by 90%.

The union said it is in dispute over a series of issues, including the removal of permanent posts and the creation of zero-hour jobs via a contract with a security company, cuts to booking offices and attacks on the role and responsibility of train guards.

The union said Northern Rail had also given no commitment that there will be no compulsory redundancies beyond the end of its current franchise in February 2016.

"RMT has made every effort to win assurances from Northern Rail over jobs, services and safety. However, the company continues to ride roughshod over our efforts. We therefore had no option but to ballot all staff for action to force the company to take these issues seriously and the members have now voted decisively for action. That mandate will now be considered by the union. The union is committed to ending the two-tier workforce that the security contract creates and calls for all workers to be brought in-house on decent pay and conditions.We are also committed to keeping ticket offices opening and defending guards' jobs, which are safety-critical. The RMT remains available for talks and we expect the company to now take this dispute, and the issues at the heart of it, seriously."

– Mick Cash, RMT general secretary

Northern Rail is owned by a 50:50 joint venture between Serco Group and Abellio, a subsidiary of NS Dutch Railways.

The company employs 4,900 workers and runs 2,500 services every week day.

The RMT said 1,500 of its members are involved in the dispute.


Newcastle priest to become second woman Bishop

The Reverend Alison White. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

The Reverend Alison White will today (July 3) become the Church of England's second female bishop.

She will be appointed the Bishop of Hull.

Reverend White has been the priest of Riding Mill in the Diocese of Newcastle.

The service will be held at York Minister.

Her husband is already a Bishop and they become the first husband and wife to hold the roles.

Weather: Heavy showers TOMORROW NIGHT

Credit: Met Office

Warning in place: 7pm Friday - Midday Saturday

Isolated heavy, and possibly severe, thunderstorms are expected to develop on Friday evening.

These are likely to become more frequent later and spread northwards towards southern Scotland.

Some torrential downpours are possible leading to localised surface water flooding, with large hail and frequent lightning also possible hazards.

Your pictures of last night's lightning storm.

More of your pictures. Wow!

Seaham. Credit: Sophie Burn
Denton Burn, Newcastle. Credit: Dean Boulton
Craghead, County Durham. Credit: Scott Dodds
Bishop Auckland. Credit: Heather Towers
Blyth. Credit: Serena Priestner
Dudley, North Tyneside. Credit: Sean Harrison
West Denton, Newcastle. Credit: Kerry McGuinness
Washington. Credit: Stephen Trotter
Ushaw Moor, County Durham. Credit: Claire Martin
South Shields. Credit: Hope Swan
Lemington, Newcastle. Credit: Colleen Murphy
Thornaby, Teesside. Credit: Mal Coulthard
Incredible sky. Credit: Gemma Thompson
Bensham Gateshead. Credit: Calvin Lees
Spectacular night sky. Credit: Heather Walker


Last night's storm in pictures

Some of you have been sending us your pictures of last night's storm.

Here are some of the more dramatic:

Shiney Row, Wearside. Credit: Christopher Holmes
The sky above the North East last night. Credit: David Goodhall
Hailstones the size of tomato in Tow Law, County Durham. Credit: Jody Willis
More large hailstones in Pelton Lane Ends. Credit: Rob & Sheila Anderson

Keep sending your pictures and videos to pam& or share them on our Facebook page.

Power cuts and storm damage after extreme weather hits the region

The scene at a house in Ferryhill in County Durham, after lightning struck the roof Credit: Courtesy of The Northern Echo

Around 40,000 homes across the region suffered power cuts during the dramatic storms that hit the region.

Northern Powergrid engineers worked late into the night to restore power, as the bad weather continued in some areas.

There were a number of fires caused by lightning strikes. The roof of a house in Ferryhill was completely destroyed. Durham Fire and Rescue say there was no-one in the property at the time.

A tree hit by lightning at Leeholme near Coundon in County Durham Credit: Keith Taylor

Weather: Thundery showers TODAY

Credit: Met Office

Isolated heavy, and possibly severe thunderstorms are expected to develop late Wednesday afternoon across parts of Northern England and Southern Scotland.

Some torrential downpours are possible leading to localised surface water flooding, with hail and frequent lightning also possible hazards.

Visit the Met Office Warning page here

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