THE RMT union has confirmed two more days of strikes on Northern later this month in the dispute over on-train staffing.
The union described ‘attacks on the role of the safety-critical guard and the extension of Driver Only Operation in the name of increased profits’ and called for ‘meaningful talks’. It has also pointed to settlements of similar disputes in Scotland and Wales.
The two strike days will be 26 and 29 March. Previous walkouts affecting Northern have reduced train services to a 12-hour day between 07.00 and 19.00, with many trains during that period also cancelled.
General secretary Mick Cash said: “Every single effort that RMT has made to reach a negotiated settlement with Northern Rail over safe operation and safe staffing has been kicked back in our faces. No one should be in any doubt, this dispute is about putting the safety of the travelling public before the profits of the private train companies.
“Theresa May and Chris Grayling are happy to stand aside and cheer on overseas rail companies that rip-off the British passenger with eye-watering fare increases to subsidise their domestic transport operations while throwing the guards off our trains. If it’s good enough for Wales and Scotland to put safety first then it’s good enough for the rest of the UK. RMT remains ready for the talks we have suggested.”
Northern has said that jobs are fully protected, and is calling for ‘local representatives to engage in meaningful discussions’.