Fresh strike in train guards’ dispute
Members of the RMT union on Northern will walk out for the 43rd time since the row started.
A rail company will be hit by a fresh strike on Saturday in the long running dispute over guards on trains, disrupting services again for passengers.
Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) on Arriva Rail North (Northern) will walk out for the 43rd time since the row flared.
Northern, part of German transport giant Deutsche Bahn, said services will be “extremely busy”, with few trains running after 5pm.
Strikes will be held on every Saturday in January, with no sign of an end to the deadlock.
There is no reason for the RMT to continue its disruptive and economically damaging strikes Arriva Rail North
David Brown, Northern’s managing director said: “More than 50% of all rail journeys in the UK are made on driver-controlled trains and recently the Department for Transport and Transport for the North publicly confirmed that a second person – in addition to the driver – would be retained on Northern services.
“This second person will provide customer service, including meeting customer needs on accessibility, safety, security, ticketing and information.
“Therefore, there is no reason for the RMT to continue its disruptive and economically damaging strikes but despite this, the RMT continues with its strike action.
“We expect all of our service on Saturdays in January to be extremely busy and are calling on our customers to plan their travel carefully for the coming weekend, check the new timetables well in advance, and make sure they do not rely on the last trains home.”
The union claimed Arriva Rail North’s latest report and accounts revealed that the company has been given “secret extra taxpayer funded payments” of £31 million since the franchise began in April 2016, directly allowing the company to make profits of £33.7 million over the same period.
RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “RMT Northern members will be striking again tomorrow in the long-running fight to put public safety before private profit as the company jack up their fares and refuse to lift the axe from above the heads of their safety critical guards.
“RMT continues to make every effort to get serious and meaningful talks going with Northern but the company would prefer to milk the fare increase for every penny they can while ignoring the safety concerns of their staff and the public alike.
“RMT will not be party to the dilution of the safety culture on Northern Rail trains in a drive to prop up Deutsche Bahn’s profits – it is nothing short of a scandal that Northern passengers are paying some of the highest fares in Europe, travelling on unreliable and rammed out trains, to subsidise the domestic operations of the German parent company.
“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.”