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Rail passengers face a second Saturday of strike action by RMT in row over guards and rail safety

Strike action on Northern rail for second consecutive Saturday Photo: PA

Strike action will go ahead today (Saturday) on Arriva Rail North in a bitter row over the role of guards and the extension of Driver Only Operation. This is the second of six planned walkouts on consecutive Saturdays.

Northern Rail say they will operate a reduced timetable with very few trains running before 9am and after 6pm. On their website they say

"Unfortunately, on some routes, we won’t be able to run services, while others will have a limited service. On those routes where we are able to operate trains, we expect all services to be extremely busy. We will also have replacement bus services available on some routes where trains aren’t running."

All customers are advised to check before travelling and, where necessary, may want to seek alternative modes of transport.

Across the north of England there are a number of major events taking place this weekend and customers should be aware of the impact the amended timetables will have on travel to and from those events.

Strike action on Northern rail for second consecutive Saturday Credit: PA

The RMT says it has been forced to press ahead with the action after the company continued to refuse to engage in serious and meaningful talks. The union has accused company bosses of stringing its negotiators along rather than looking seriously for a settlement when there has been an opportunity to strike an agreement on the ‎guard guarantee that matches the best practice in the industry.

“RMT has made every effort to get serious and meaningful talks going with Northern but instead of making progress towards a settlement that matches the best practice in the rail industry as negotiated elsewhere the company have opted instead to play fast and loose making a mockery of the exercise. It is the pig headed and arrogant attitude of the company that has forced us to confirm that the continuing programme of strikes planned from tomorrow go ahead.

“RMT members on Arriva Rail North have been in dispute for well over a year now in a battle to put public safety before private profit and we are angry and frustrated that a genuine opportunity to reach an agreement has been kicked back by the company.

“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 recently secured an agreement on Greater Anglia that enshrines 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.”

– RMT General Secretary Mick Cash

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