Union boss praises 'sheer guts and resilience' of rail workers on 44th day of strike action
Rail workers staged their 44th strike yesterday in the long-running dispute over guards on trains, causing fresh disruption for passengers.
Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union on ArrivaRail North (Northern) are embroiled in a bitter row over staffing, with no sign of an end to the deadlock.
Picket lines were mounted outside stations across the region, and the union said the strike was "solidly supported". Further strikes are planned on Saturdays throughout January.
RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: "RMT members across Northern Rail are standing firm again on this 44th day of strike action as the company continues to soak up passenger cash and public subsidies that would easily fund the guard-guarantee on their trains.
"It is the sheer guts and resilience of our members over 44 days of action that has kept the fight for safe and accessible rail travel for all across the Northern franchise in the spotlight while the company refuse to get out of their bunker and enter serious talks."
David Brown, managing director at Northern, said: "More than 50% of all rail journeys in the UK are made on driver-controlled trains and recently the Department for Transport, and Transport for the North, publicly confirmed that a second person - in addition to the driver - would be retained on Northern services.
"This second person will provide customer service, including meeting customer needs on accessibility, safety, security, ticketing and information.
"Therefore, there is no reason for the RMT to continue its disruptive and economically damaging strikes - but despite this, the RMT continues with its strike action."We expect all of our service on Saturdays in January to be extremely busy and are calling on our customers to plan their travel carefully for the coming weekend, check the new timetables well in advance, and make sure they do not rely on the last trains home."