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Rail workers set to strike on Saturdays in Christmas run-up

Rail workers are set to stage a series of 24-hour strikes on Saturdays in the coming weeks in a dispute over the role of guards on trains Credit: PA

Rail workers are set to stage a series of 24-hour strikes on Saturdays in the coming weeks in a dispute over the role of guards on trains.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union on West Midlands Trains will walk out on November 16, 23 and 30 and December 7, 14, 21 and 28, hitting some of the busiest Christmas shopping days. It's over a dispute on the role of guards on trains.

"RMT has been left with no choice but to call strike action on West Midlands Trains in the face of the company's refusal to pull back from their threat to bulldoze through driver-only operation and their attack on the safety-critical role of the guard at the platform/train interface."

"We will not allow the drive for profit to override the core issue of safe and accessible services for all on West Midlands Trains and we stand firm on that very basic principle."

"We will never compromise on the issues of passenger safety and accessibility."

– RMT general secretary Mick Cash
Credit: PA

A West Midlands Trains spokesperson said: "We are disappointed at the outcome of the ballot. We have committed to keeping a guard on every passenger train. A strike benefits nobody."

"We reached a framework agreement with RMT in May last year which guaranteed a safety-critical conductor on every passenger train. We remain determined to find a way of resolving this dispute without disruption and inconvenience for our passengers.

"If strikes go ahead we have drawn up contingency plans to run services using managers who also have guard competency. This will be a skeleton service, so passengers are advised to check their journey carefully before leaving home on strike days. More detailed information will be published nearer the time."

– A West Midlands Trains spokesperson

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