4 January 2019
RMT Press Office
RMT says 43rd day of strike action goes ahead on Northern tomorrow as company whack up fares and axe staff
RAIL UNION RMT said today that a 43rd day of strike action on Northern Rail goes ahead as planned tomorrow in defence of rail safety and the role of the guard as the company whacked up fares this week and refused to lift the axe from above the heads of their safety-critical guards
Tomorrow’s strike takes place as the company continues to refuse to engage in serious and meaningful talks around the guard guarantee that could form the basis for a settlement.
It also comes as Arriva Rail North’s latest report and accounts, smuggled out at the last possible moment just after the latest fare rise disgrace, reveal that the German State-owned company has been given secret extra taxpayer funded payments of £31 million since the franchise began in April 2016, directly allowing the company to make profits of £33.7 million over the same period. The figures make a mockery of the company claims that they can't afford to retain a safety-critical guard on their trains.
RMT general secretary Mick Cash said:
“RMT Northern members will be striking again tomorrow in the long-running fight to put public safety before private profit as the company jack up their fares and refuse to lift the axe from above the heads of their safety critical guards.
“RMT continues to make every effort to get serious and meaningful talks going with Northern but the company would prefer to milk the fare increase for every penny they can while ignoring the safety concerns of their staff and the public alike.
"RMT will not be party to the dilution of the safety culture on Northern Rail trains in a drive to prop up Deutsche Bahn's profits – it is nothing short of a scandal that Northern passengers are paying some of the highest fares in Europe, travelling on unreliable and rammed out trains, to subsidise the domestic operations of the German parent company.
“That is why our members will be standing solid again tomorrow for the 43rd day in support of a safe and accessible railway for all.
“We thank the public for their support and understanding throughout this dispute over rail safety and access and the union remains ready for genuine and serious talks.”