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RMT announces second Northern strike for April

RMT will once again strike against Arriva Rail North on 28 April after talks between the union and the operator broke down.

Little progress was made when the two parties met last week, the RMT claims, as Arriva “dug its heels in” on the issue of having a second staff member on-board trains.

The last RMT strike on Arriva Rail North services took place on 8 April to coincide with the Grand National at Aintree. It caused chaos for travellers on the network as Northern was only able to run a third of its normal service.

General secretary of RMT Mick Cash now argued: “The public, who support RMT’s campaign for a guarantee of a guard on their trains, will be appalled that Arriva Rail North has failed to offer any kind of progress whatsoever in the talks and have instead opted to try and bulldoze through their plans regardless.”

Cash also criticised Arriva for its “flagrant disregard” for the safety issues at the heart of the dispute which left the union with allegedly no option but to press ahead with even more strike action.

“RMT commends our Arriva Rail North members on their rock-solid display of strength, resolve and unity during the action so far in opposition to the introduction of driver controlled operation and defence of the guards to guarantee a safer, securer and more accessible railway for all,” he said.

“The union continues to remain available for meaningful discussions with the company in order to seek a satisfactory resolution to the on-going dispute.”

Richard Allan, deputy managing director of Northern, said the company was very disappointed about the announcement of strike action.

“More than anything, we are sorry for the disruption it will again cause our customers, but we have robust contingency plans in place to keep our customers on the move where possible,” he stated.

“Everyone has a big role to plan in shaping our modernisation plans. There is a lot to discuss and we urge RMT to get back round the table with an open mind as soon as possible.”

Allan added that the operator had made attempts to appeal to the union and come to an agreement, explaining: “In addition to protecting jobs and current pay, we are also willing to offer future, annual pay reviews for existing conductors if we can agree a deal with RMT.”

The same union also announced today that it would be holding a national demo in London on Wednesday next week to mark the ‘one-year anniversary’ of industrial action against another operator, Southern, also over a disagreement about driver-only operated trains.

On Southern services, RMT has gone on strike for a total of 31 days over the year the dispute has dragged on for.

Top Image: Mikey, Wikicommons

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Neil Palmer   19/04/2017 at 21:54

I wonder which TOC will have the guts to lock out RMT members until a settlement is reached? Southern now seems in the strongest position to do that, being able to offer an almost normal timetable with or without RMT members showing up for work.

Jerry Alderson   21/04/2017 at 15:12

I've recently spent time travelling on Northern and Merseyrail trains. On Merseyrail I never saw any on-board staff. My ticket was never checked - only at the automated barrier at Liverpool Central. On Northern the ticket checking was very variable. One woman conductor was excellent, coming through thre train after every station stop. On some trains I never saw the conductor. I found staff to be very friendly though, and I had a long chat with a very pleasant and interested driver who took the time to come out of his carriage at Colne and talk to me. That would *never* happen in the south!

Jimbo   23/04/2017 at 23:56

Why is it that whenever this website reports on RMT strike action, the report from the union is always given first and then the TOC management comments follow afterwards ? This seems like unbalanced reporting, suggesting that the union position is more important.

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