Train staff to strike again over 'safety dispute' with rail bosses

Sunderland Railway Station.
Sunderland Railway Station.
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Train staff are set to go on strike again as part of a safety dispute with rail bosses.

Rail, Maritime and Transport workers' union (RMT) announced further strike action on Saturday, March 3, in separate disputes with train operating companies Northern Rail and Merseyrail over what it claims are attacks on the role of train guards and the extension of driver only operation in the name, it claims, of increased profits.

Members on Northern and Merseyrail, have been instructed not to book on for any shifts between 00.01 hours and 23.59 hours on the day in question.

RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said: “Every single effort that RMT has made to reach negotiated settlements in these separate disputes with Northern and Merseyrail over safe operation and safe staffing has been kicked back in our faces.

"No one should be in any doubt, these disputes are about putting the safety of the travelling public before the profits of the private train companies.

“It is frankly ludicrous that we have been able to negotiate long-term arrangements in Scotland and Wales that protect the guards and passenger safety but we are being denied the same opportunities with rail companies in England.

“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 far 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 talks in both of these disputes.”