31 August 2018
RMT Press Office:
RMT confirms action goes ahead on Northern tomorrow in fight over guards and rail safety as company refuses serious talks
RAIL UNION RMT confirmed today that strike action on Arriva Rail North over attacks on the role of the safety-critical guard and the extension of Driver Only Operation in the name of increased profits this Saturday goes ahead exactly as planned.
RMT says it has been forced to press ahead with the action from tomorrow after the company continued to refuse point blank to engage in serious and meaningful talks. The union has accused company bosses of stringing its negotiators along rather than looking seriously for a settlement when there has been an opportunity to strike an agreement on the guard guarantee that matches the best practice in the industry.
The current programme of action is as follows:
All Arriva Rail North Conductor, Conductor Instructor and Train Driver members are instructed to take action as follows:
Not to book on for on for duty between:
• 00:01 hours and 23:59 hours on Saturday 1st September 2018
• 00:01 hours and 23:59 hours on Saturday 8th September 2018.
• 00.01 hours and 23.59 hours on Saturday 15th September 2018
• 00.01 hours and 23.59 hours on Saturday 22nd September 2018
• 00.01 hours and 23.59 hours on Saturday 29th September 2018
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:
“RMT has made every effort to get serious and meaningful talks going with Northern but instead of making progress towards a settlement that matches the best practice in the rail industry as negotiated elsewhere the company have opted instead to play fast and loose making a mockery of the exercise. It is the pig headed and arrogant attitude of the company that has forced us to confirm that the continuing programme of strikes planned from tomorrow go ahead.
“RMT members on Arriva Rail North have been in dispute for well over a year now in a battle to put public safety before private profit and we are angry and frustrated that a genuine opportunity to reach an agreement has been kicked back by the company.
“German-owned Northern Rail want to run nearly half a million trains a year without a safety critical guard on board in a move that would wreck both safety and access to services and they should listen to their front-line staff and pull back from that plan immediately.
"RMT recently secured an agreement on Greater Anglia that enshrines the guard guarantee. Similar agreements have also been reached in Wales and Scotland. Arriva Rail North need to do the right thing and come to an agreement that secures a guard on their trains too.
“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.”