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26 April 2017
RMT Press Office:
RMT 24 hour strike on Arriva Rail North in guards' safety dispute goes ahead as company rule out tripartite talks with DfT.
Rail union RMT has confirmed that a 24 hour strike on Arriva Rail North this Friday, 28th April, goes ahead after the company failed to offer any progress at all in further talks this week over the guards and drivers safety dispute.
The union said it was angry and frustrated that the company had rejected point blank a proposal to invite Transport Department officials to join in three way talks in an attempt to reach a solution.
Workers from Northern will join RMT rail colleagues from across the country at a national protest at Westminster at noon today against Driver Only Operation which marks the first anniversary of the dispute on Southern Rail.
As well as digging their heels in on the crucial issue of the guarantee of a second safety critical member of staff on their trains the company have also reiterated that they fully intend to introduce a minimum of 50% driver controlled operation across the franchise upon the introduction of the new rolling stock – a move that they know is wholly unacceptable to the union.
As a result of this wholesale failure by the company to make any progress in the talks RMT’s the action on Friday goes ahead with the union planning picket lines at key location across the Northern routes.
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.
“RMT commends our Arriva Rail North Members on their rock solid display of strength, resolve and unity during the action so far in opposition to the introduction of driver controlled operation and defence of the guards to guarantee a safer, securer and more accessible railway for all. We have no doubt that they our members will remain united and determined as we prepare for the action on Friday.
“The union continues to remain available for meaningful discussions with the company in order to seek a satisfactory resolution to the on-going dispute.”