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Fresh disruption to rail services as workers strike again in guards’ dispute

Services on South Western Railway and Arriva Rail North will be hit on Saturday.

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South Western Railway said half of its normal Saturday service will operate (Victoria Jones/PA)

South Western Railway said half of its normal Saturday service will operate (Victoria Jones/PA)

South Western Railway said half of its normal Saturday service will operate (Victoria Jones/PA)

Rail services will be hit again on Saturday because of more industrial action in the long-running guards’ dispute, causing fresh travel disruption for passengers.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) on South Western Railway (SWR) and Arriva Rail North (Northern) will strike for 24 hours, leading to delays and fewer trains than normal.

Northern said it will run a “significantly reduced” service, while SWR said half of its normal Saturday service will operate.

It is nothing short of scandalous that both of these companies have refused point blank to talk seriously Mick Cash, RMT union

The RMT said it was repeating its call for urgent talks with both companies in an effort to break the deadlock over its call for a guarantee of a guard on every train.

General secretary Mick Cash said the dispute continued to be about putting public safety before private profit.

“It is nothing short of scandalous that both of these companies have refused point blank to talk seriously at the very same time as the union has been putting together negotiated solutions with other operators that have the guard guarantee at their core.

“It has also now emerged that both Northern and South Western Railway have applied to be bailed out by the taxpayer for revenue loss on strike days.

“That is a national scandal when guards are taking action to defend safety, access and security on our railways.

“There is no excuse whatsoever for these companies to be throwing guards off their trains in a dash to pump up their profits and the fact that they are being bank-rolled by the Government at taxpayer expense whether they run tr‎ains or not means they have no incentive to settle the disputes.”

A Northern spokesman said passengers should check before they travel and consider alternative travel options.

The company said it had urged the union to suspend planned strikes on every Saturday in September after an agreement to hold talks.

He said: “Ongoing strikes only disrupt customers, over a number of particularly busy weekends across the North of England, and cause financial loss for our conductors.

“We are delivering the biggest modernisation programme in a generation, including 98 new trains that are now under construction, the Pacer trains will be retired, all remaining trains will be refurbished to a high standard and we will provide an additional 2,000 services per week.

“We maintain that talking costs nothing, whilst strike action causes inconvenience to customers and damages the case for long-term investment in rail.”

PA


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