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  1. ITV Report

Northern strikes suspended after RMT reaches agreement on guards dispute

Strikes will come to an end after more than two years. Credit: PA

Long-running strikes involving Northern workers over guards on trains have been suspended after a "major breakthrough" in the dispute, the RMT union said.

The union said in a statement that "substantial progress" has been made in talks with the train operator, bringing the strike action to an end after more than two years.

Northern has said it will now guarantee conductors on all trains, including its new fleet, for the duration of the franchise which is timetabled to end in 2023 - although can be extended for a further two years by the Transport Secretary.

The pledge has been supported by the Department of Transport, the union said.

The rail operator has been mired with problems running trains after staff went on strike. Credit: PA

RMT General Secretary Mick Cash paid tribute to rail workers for the "resilience and determination" through the strike.

In a statement he said: “Today’s offer of a guarantee of a conductor on all services throughout the duration of the franchise, including the new fleet, is the substantial progress we have been pushing for and has allowed RMT’s executive to take the decision to suspend the current action and allow for further talks to now take place with all stakeholders around the operational details.”

Rail users have faced months of disruption during the strikes, which at one point saw no trains or a limited service operating on key routes across the North on Saturdays.

It was previously reported that half of commuters felt stressed as rail bosses reached an impasse with workers over guards on trains.

The Department for Transport told ITV News: “We welcome the suspension of the RMT’s strikes and their agreement to join Northern at the negotiating table.

“Passengers and business across the Northern network need a reliable, safe and dependable rail service.

“With guarantees in place over jobs and pay, we hope a positive agreement can now be reached that puts passengers first.”