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Commuter misery as 48-hour RMT strike begins

Travellers across the country are enduring a day of misery today as five franchises strike.

As part of an ongoing dispute about what the RMT calls an “attack on Britain’s train guards” and the extension of driver only operation (DOO), Arriva Rail North and Merseyrail have walked out for 24 hours.

Workers at Southern, Greater Anglia, and South Western & Island Line will also down tools tomorrow, in 48-hour industrial action.

Explaining why the RMT feel the action is necessary general secretary, Mick Cash, said: “RMT members stand solid, united and determined again this morning in the latest phase of strike action in a raft of separate disputes which are about putting safety, security and access to transport services before the profiteering of these rip-off private rail companies.

“Political and public support is flooding in as our communities choose to stand by their guards against the financially and politically motivated drive to throw safety-critical staff off our trains.

“The union salutes the members who are standing firm this morning for a safe and accessible railway for all.”

Merseyrail planned to operate a reduced service today, and Arriva Rail North planned to run 1,300 services, mostly between 7:00 and 19:00.

Passenger services director at Southern Railway, Angie Doll, said that it was “business as usual” on most of its routes.

Commenting on the strike action, she said: “Nobody has lost their job over the changes that we made almost a year ago.

“We’ve made four good offers to resolve this dispute yet the RMT has rejected them all without even putting our proposals to their members for a vote.”

South Western reports disruptions on many of its services this afternoon.

Greater Anglia said yesterday that it was planning to run a full service, stating that 60% of its trains are operating without conductors already. The operator is also reporting a good service this afternoon.

However, the RMT expressed safety concerns at this.

Yesterday Cash said: “The only way that Greater Anglia can be running these services is through taking serious risks with public safety just as they did during the last phase of strike action.

“Passengers need to be made aware of that fact.”

Top picture: Victoria Jones PA Wire

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Andrew Gwilt   08/11/2017 at 23:15

At least Greater Anglia have said that 60% of their services in Essex will still carry on as normal despite the 24hr strike that is already affecting London-Norwich mainline service.

Neil Palmer   09/11/2017 at 05:03

There's irony for you. Mick Cash spouting off about "access to transport services " while repeatedly calling strikes to do all he can to prevent that access.

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