Union calls more rail strikes in bitter guards' disputes


Rail workers at two train companies are to stage a fresh strike in the long-running dispute over the role of guards.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union at Arriva Rail North (Northern) and Merseyrail will walk out on March 3.

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.

"Prime Minister Theresa May and Transport Secretary Chris Grayling are happy to stand aside and cheer on overseas rail companies that rip off the British passenger with eye-watering fare 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 members at South Western Railway will ban rest-day working for four days from Friday in the same dispute, which also affects Southern and Greater Anglia.