Protest to mark second anniversary of train guards' dispute

A national demonstration is to be held to mark the second anniversary of the bitter disputes over the role of guards and staffing on trains.

The Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) will stage a rally in London on April 25, two years after the row first broke out on Southern Railway.

The dispute spread across the country, and a series of strikes have now been held by RMT members at Southern, South Western Railway (SWR), Greater Anglia, Merseyrail and Arriva Rail North (Northern).

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: "Our members have stood solid and united for two years in the fight for passenger safety and access on Southern Rail in Britain's longest-running industrial dispute.

"The sheer grit and determination of our members on Southern to put public safety before private profit over the past two years of this dispute is a credit to the trade union movement and the communities they are standing up for.

"?We are now receiving regular reports of trains running without a guard or onboard supervisor (OBS) on Southern Rail and of disabled passengers being denied support and access and the routine safety of passengers being compromised.

"The scandal of Southern Rail, mirrored in disputes on SWR, Merseyrail, Northern and Greater Anglia, cannot be allowed to continue and these companies should get out of their bunkers and get back round the table with the union."

The next round of industrial action over the dispute will hit SWR over the Easter weekend when RMT members will refuse to work rest days.

All the train companies insist changing the role of guards is safe, with some pressing ahead with plans to introduce new driver-controlled trains in the coming years.

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