4 January 2018
RMT Press Office:
Northern Rail strike action goes ahead as company refuses point blank to enter into serious negotiations
Rail union RMT has confirmed that three days of strike action on Northern Rail goes ahead next week exactly as planned after the company refused point blank to enter into serious and genuine negotiations that could have brokered a way forwards in talks held yesterday.
Although the union made it clear that we were prepared to open up a range of discussions around operational models already established in successful negotiations in Scotland and Wales the company maintained their pre-conditions that the union had to accept Driver Controlled Operation and a future where at least half of Northern trains run without a second safety critical member of staff on board.
The company proposals would mean nearly half a million trains a year running on Northern without the crucial safety guarantee of the second, safety-critical member of staff on board.
It is this dogmatic and irresponsible attitude to the talks process by Arriva Rail North that effectively collapsed a genuine opportunity offered by the union to make serious progress in negotiations yesterday. As a result next week's action goes ahead as planned and the blame for the disruption caused will rest squarely with Arriva.
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said;
"Our members are angry and frustrated that yet again a genuine opportunity to make progress in talks yesterday has been kicked into touch by the pig-headed and intransigent attitude of Arriva Rail North who simply want their staff to surrender to their demands to axe guards from half their trains regardless of the safety consequences.
"RMT was prepared to enter into a serious discussion around operational models similar to agreements reached in Wales and Scotland but the door was slammed in our faces.
"As a result of the Arriva Rail North attitude the action goes ahead in defence of rail safety, access and security and the public will understand that we are fighting in the interests of rail passengers across the region.
"This dispute is about putting public safety before private profit and that is the message we will be sending out on the picket lines from Monday."