Transport union RMT has confirmed a series of Saturday strike dates on Northern Rail as the two parties remain deadlocked over the planned introduction of driver-only operation.
The union has recently been in talks with Northern but said that the train operator had “made a mockery” of the process.
All Arriva Rail North conductor, conductor instructor and train driver members have been instructed to not to book on for duty between 00.01 and 23:59 on each of Saturday 25 August, Saturday 1 September and Saturday 8 September.
RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “RMT committed to talks in good faith with Northern but instead of making progress towards a settlement that matches the best practice in the rail industry as negotiated elsewhere the company have opted instead to play and fast and loose, making a mockery of the exercise.”
The dispute between RMT and Arriva Rail North has been ongoing for more than a year, and the hope was that a resolution could be found, as has happened in other areas.
Cash continued: “RMT recently secured an agreement on Greater Anglia that enshrine the guard guarantee. Similar agreements have also been reached in Wales and Scotland. Arriva Rail North need to do the right thing and come to an agreement that secures a guard on their trains too.”
Richard Allan, deputy managing director of Northern, said: “The RMT’s announcement of yet more strike action is disappointing and frustrating. This will be a blow for our customers.
“It comes despite Northern proposing and entering into a joint working party with RMT on the future of the on-board role. We have agreed a terms of reference for those talks, agreed to discuss the RMT’s preferred outcome first and then held four days of talks with RMT in recent weeks. A further day of talks has also been proposed for Friday 17 August.
“Northern is doing everything possible to find a solution to the RMT’s dispute and maintains that talking costs nothing, whilst strike action causes inconvenience to customers and damages the case for long-term investment in rail.”
Although Merseyrail also remains in dispute with RMT, there are no strike days planned at this point on its services.