Arriva Rail North workers to strike in driver-only trains row after talks fail

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A 24-hour strike on Arriva Rail North will go ahead on Friday after the failure of talks to resolve a dispute over the role of guards.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union will walk out for the third time in a row over staffing for new trains due to come into service in 2020.

The union said it was "angry and frustrated" that the company had rejected a proposal to invite Transport Department officials to join three-way talks in an attempt to reach a solution.

Workers from Northern joined RMT members from across the country at a protest outside Parliament on Wednesday against driver-only operation to mark the first anniversary of the bitter dispute ?on Southern Rail.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: "The sheer intransigence of Arriva Rail North means that the action this Friday goes ahead as planned.

"The responsibility for the inevitable disruption lies wholly with the company.

"We are angry and frustrated that Arriva have thrown out a perfectly reasonable proposal to invite the DfT to join us in three-way talks aimed at finding a solution.

"The public, who support RMT's campaign for a guarantee of a guard on their trains, will be appalled that Arriva Rail North have failed yet again to offer any kind of progress whatsoever in the talks and have instead opted to try and bulldoze through their plans regardless.

"It is that flagrant disregard for the safety issues at the heart of the dispute which leaves us with no option but to press ahead with the campaign of strike action."

Richard Allan, deputy managing director of Arriva Rail North, said: "It is disappointing that RMT was unwilling to move from its current position during our talks.

"Our employees want us to talk about changes we need to make to the on-board role as we modernise our railway. We believe we would keep a second person on many of our services and, at some locations, we may choose to staff the station to give better support to customers.

"In addition to protecting jobs and current pay, we are also willing to offer future, annual pay reviews for existing conductors if we can agree a deal with RMT.

"It is hugely disappointing that RMT is making demands rather than working with us to develop our plans. There is so much to discuss and we urge them to get back round the table."