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More strikes in long-running train guards dispute

RMT members will walk out on May 24 and 26, causing more disruption to services.

Rail workers are to stage two fresh strikes in the bitter row over the role of guards on trains.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) on Arriva Rail North (Northern) will walk out on May 24 and 26, causing fresh disruption to passengers.

The company was hit by a strike on Wednesday, with union members on Greater Anglia also taking industrial action.

German-owned Northern Rail want to run half a million trains a year without a safety critical guard on board Mick Cash, RMT union

The dispute started over two years ago on Southern Railway, and now affects five train operators.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “It is a tribute to the determination and professionalism of RMT members on Arriva Rail North that they have remained rock solid for over a year now in what is a battle to put public safety before private profit.

“German-owned Northern Rail want to run 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 has agreed arrangements in Wales and Scotland that enshrine the guard guarantee. If it’s good enough for Wales and Scotland to have safe rail services it should be good enough for the rest of Britain.

“The union remains ready for talks.”

Richard Allan, Northern’s deputy manager director, said: “We are delivering the biggest modernisation programme in a generation for customers, including 98 new trains that are now under construction, better stations and more services.

“It is disappointing that RMT has chosen to target its strike action during the week of the Bank Holiday weekend, the first week of the new timetable and several events to commemorate the first anniversary of the Manchester attack.

“We are still prepared to guarantee jobs and pay reviews for conductors until the end of our franchise in 2025, with the Government guaranteeing jobs beyond that, but both guarantees depend on RMT ending its strike action.

“We urge RMT to move away from its nationally coordinated strikes and allow its local representatives to engage in meaningful discussions with us on how we better serve customers on-board our new and refurbished trains.”

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