Rail workers to hold protests across North of England

Rail workers are to stage a series of protests at stations as part of a continuing campaign against driver-controlled trains and changes to the role of guards.

The Rail, Maritime and Transport union is embroiled in bitter disputes against five train operators which started almost two years ago on Southern Railway.

Union members on South Western Railway are taking industrial action over Easter by refusing to work rest days.

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A week of protests will be held from Tuesday across the North of England marking the second anniversary of the region's franchise being run by German state-owned Arriva Rail North.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: "It's bad enough that Northern passengers have not seen any sign of promised improvements but it is unforgivable that Northern are about to make matters worse by getting rid of guards who do so much to assist passenger service, safety and accessibility.

"What is unbelievable is that because Northern is owned by German state railways the German railway will profit and get better on the back of these cuts to northern services and jobs.

"That's no April fool, it's true and the joke is well and truly on passengers.

"RMT members will be protesting at stations across the north this week to highlight our concerns about the attack on jobs and safety by the German state-owned northern franchise and we will be calling on the Secretary of State for Transport to stop supporting these plans and reverse them."

Northern insists safety is not being compromised by its staffing plans for new trains.

The company's services were hit by two strikes last week.