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‘Solid and determined’ support for rail strikes

Members of the RMT union on South Western Railway and Arriva Rail North walked out in a long-running dispute over guards on trains.

RMT flag (Jonathan Brady/PA)
RMT flag (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Rail workers are said to be solidly supporting fresh strikes in the long-running dispute over guards on trains, causing huge disruption to services.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union on South Western Railway continued a 48-hour walkout while staff on Arriva Rail North (Northern) launched their 30th stoppage since the row started.

Northern only ran 30% of its usual services while SWR was expecting to operate half its Saturday timetable.

RMT members mounted picket lines outside stations and the union said it continued to receive public support for its campaign.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “RMT members are standing solid, determined and united again this morning on both Northern and South Western Railway in the continuing fight for safety, security and access on our trains while the train companies preside over a surge in violence across their services.

“It is scandalous that while other train operators have been prepared to engage seriously with RMT on the crucial issue of a guaranteed second safety-critical member of staff on their services, ARN and SWR have dragged their heels and made a mockery of the talks process.

“It’s time for both these companies to get out of the bunker and start talking seriously and positively with the union on the issue of the guard guarantee, instead of gambling with public safety as they pump up their profits.

“In the week where we have seen violence on the railways increase by a shocking 17%, RMT has made it clear that we will not allow safety, security and access on our railways to be compromised in the drive for private profit.

“We thank the public for their continuing support and understanding that these disputes are all about safety and passenger service on Britain’s violent railways.”

We urge the RMT to engage in meaningful talks so that full passenger services can resume Department for Transport

A Department for Transport spokesman said: “This dispute is not about jobs or safety. The independent rail regulator has ruled that driver-controlled trains, which have been used in this country for 30 years, are safe. Staff have also had their jobs and pay guaranteed for the length of the franchise.

“For 30 years, some routes have had a driver only on the train, and staff on the platforms
instead. A traditional guard cannot walk through a busy train at peak times. Staff on the platforms are well placed to help if there is a problem.

“We urge the RMT to engage in meaningful talks so that full passenger services can resume.”

PA

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