22 June 2017
RMT Press Office:
RMT confirms a further three days of strike action on Arriva Rail North in guards' safety dispute
Rail union RMT has confirmed that a further three days of strike action on Arriva Rail North will go ahead on Saturday 8th July, Sunday 9th July and Monday 10th July as the company continues to resist all efforts to make progress in the long-running dispute over rail safety and the head-long dash towards Driver Only Operation.
The union said it was angry and frustrated that the company has set impossible pre-conditions on future talks and has rejected point blank every attempt to try and broker a safe and sustainable settlement to the dispute.
Attempts by RMT to get the talks process back underway have been blocked by the insistence of the company that they are not prepared to discuss the core issue of the second safety-critical person on their trains and will only meet to discuss the terms of the RMT’s surrender on the fundamental issue of Driver Only Operation. A stance that the union has slammed as a total disgrace.
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 continue to plough on with plans to introduce a minimum of 50% driver controlled operation across the franchise upon the introduction of the new rolling stock without agreement and in the teeth of opposition from the public, politicians and their own staff.
Political support continues to grow for RMT’s campaign against the dangerous, cash-led DOO proposals and it has been a significant issue throughout the general election campaign.
As a result of this wholesale failure by the company to make any progress RMT’s executive decided to call action on the 8th, 9th and 10th July 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 we have no option but to confirm a further round of strike action . The responsibility for the inevitable disruption lies wholly with the company. We are angry and frustrated that Arriva continue to face up to the facts and also continue to ignore a perfectly reasonable union proposal to invite the DfT to join us in three way talks aimed at finding a solution. Instead, they have chosen to up the ante by demanding that RMT attends talks solely to discuss the implementation of plans the company know we are wholly opposed to. That is a total disgrace.
“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 on 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 next phase of action in a fortnight.
“The union continues to remain available for meaningful discussions with the company in order to seek a satisfactory resolution to the on-going dispute.”