Northern Rail passengers to face more disruption as new strike dates confirmed

Strike action will affect Northern services in January
Strike action will affect Northern services in January

Northern Rail passengers will face more strike action and delays in the new year.

The National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) has confirmed a new raft of strike dates on Northern Rail services.

Strike action, which was expected to continue until the end of December, will also take place every Saturday until the end of January.

READ MORE: Paramedics treat three people after fire at flat in Castleford

RMT members will this Saturday hold their 41st day of strike action over a long-running dispute about guards on trains.

Northern Rail said they had written to The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) requesting an independent inquiry into the the future role of the second staff member on Northern services.

But the RMT said that the calls for an inquiry were "nothing more than a PR stunt".

READ MORE: Moonlight cinema has 'let families down'

The RMT has instructed all conductor, conductor instructor and train driver members to strike on Saturday, January 5, Saturday, January 12, Saturday, January 19 and Saturday, January 26, 2019.

RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said: “RMT continues to make every effort to get serious and meaningful talks going with Northern but the company are not interested and would prefer to call for an inquiry into the dispute to deflect attention from the impact of their behaviour on the travelling public.

“German-owned Northern Rail want to run nearly half a million trains a year without a safety critical guard on board in a move that would wreck both safety and access ‎to services and they should listen to their front-line staff and pull back from that plan immediately.

“We thank the public for their support and understanding throughout this dispute over rail safety and access and the union remains ready for genuine and serious talks.”

Northern insisted that the proposed inquiry would have an independent chair and panel members and said that "contributions would be invited from any interested parties."

Richard Allan, Deputy Managing Director, Northern, said: “The RMT dispute means customers, businesses and the wider economy in the North have suffered the cost of 40 days of RMT strikes, including every Saturday in September, October, November and now December. Customers, employers and colleagues are looking for both parties to resolve the dispute.

“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. Despite this, the RMT continues with its strike action.

“We call on RMT to join us in committing to the inquiry and suspending its industrial action whilst the inquiry takes place. This would demonstrate commitment from both sides to try and resolve the issues, reassuring customers and stakeholders that every endeavour is being made by both sides.”