September rail strikes announced
Both Arriva Northern and Merseyrail railway services are to be affected by strikes in September as the dispute over driver-only operated trains continues between train companies and the RMT transport workers’ union.
Members of the union will strike on Northern services on Friday 1 September and Monday 4 September, while Merseyrail services will be subject to strikes on Sunday 3 September in addition to those days.
Alan Chaplin, managing director of Northern, said: “There is no doubt that the trade union calling two days of strikes is timed to coincide with people returning to school, college and work after the holidays, and will damage the region’s economy, significantly disrupt our customers’ lives and impact local businesses.
“Northern is prepared to guarantee job and current pay for all our conductors for the next eight years, until the end of the franchise. Our offers to discuss every detail on the future responsibilities and training for on-board colleagues have been rejected by RMT.
“We want to make changes to the on-board colleague role to make it fit for the future, better supporting customers on trains and at stations. If this strike action goes ahead we will do all we can to keep customers on the move as much as possible.”
RMT said that Northern had “made it clear that they are not prepared to discuss the core issue of the second safety-critical person on their trains and will only meet to discuss the terms of the RMT’s surrenoder on Driver-Only Operation”.
General secretary Mick Cash said: “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.
“The union continues to remain available for meaningful discussions with the company in order to seek a satisfactory resolution to the ongoing dispute.”