28 February 2017
RMT Press Office:
RMT members vote for action on Arriva Rail North over failure to give assurances on guards - union confirms strike date
RAIL UNION RMT confirmed today that guards and driver members on Arriva Rail North have voted for both strike action and action short of a strike after the company failed to give assurances on the future role of the guard on their services.
RMT has now confirmed industrial action as follows: Members not to book on for any shifts between 0001 hrs and 23.59 hrs on Monday 13th March.
Members voted by 83.6% for strike action and by 93.5% for action short of a strike.
In addition, the union is kick starting a renewed campaign, involving the general public and targeting politicians across the area served by Arriva Rail North aimed at maximising political and public support for RMT’s fight for a guaranteed guard on the company’s services.
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:
“RMT members have voted by a massive majority for both strike action and action short of a strike on Arriva Rail North in a dispute which is all about putting public safety before private profit. The company now has the best part of two weeks to sit down with us, address the core issues at the heart of this dispute and negotiate a settlement before the action commences.
“The union’s position on Driver Only Operation (DOO) is perfectly clear. We will not agree to any extensions of DOO and will fight to retain the safety critical role of the guard and to keep a guard on the train. The company have been made well aware of that.
“We have repeatedly asked Arriva Rail North whether they were prepared to guarantee a second person on all passenger services operated by the company and whether that second person would retain full operational responsibility, for train despatch, Platform Train Interface and current rule book requirements for dealing with contingency arrangements, such as evacuation and protection of the train.
“The response from the Company was ‘we are not in a position to offer either of these guarantees at this present time’. This has been particularly aggravating as Arriva Rail North have reneged on their previous position when they stated they ‘were prepared to offer guarantees around a second person on board trains in addition to the driver’.
“This dispute, and the campaign of industrial action we have announced today, were entirely preventable if the company had listened to the unions deep-seated safety concerns, had taken them seriously, stuck to their earlier commitments and had put passenger safety before profit.
“The company’s intransigence has forced our hand and given us to option but to announce industrial action. The disruption to services will be entirely down to Arriva Rail North reneging on their earlier commitments. The union remains available for genuine and meaningful talks and we expect the company to take up that offer as a matter of urgency.”