Strike set to cause misery for South Yorkshire train users

South Yorkshire train users are set to be affected by the first of three days of strike action today.

Monday, 8th January 2018, 5:39 am
Updated Monday, 8th January 2018, 5:50 am
Sheffield railway station

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) will walk out today on Northern, South Western Railway, Merseyrail, Greater Anglia and Southern services.

Apart from Southern, workers will repeat the strike action on Wednesday and Friday.

The strike forms part of a long-running row over staffing, driver-only operation and guards.

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Northern said it will run around 1,350 services on strike days, more than half its normal timetable, with most running between 7am and 7pm.

Richard Allan, Northern's deputy managing director, said the company was committed to investing in new and updated trains, better stations and faster journeys.

"During talks, Northern again offered to guarantee jobs and pay for conductors for the rest of our franchise to 2025 if we can reach agreement with RMT."

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: "Every single effort that RMT has made to reach negotiated settlements in these separate disputes with the different train operating companies over safe operation and safe staffing has been kicked back in our faces and we are left with no option but to press ahead with the action.

"No one should be in any doubt, these disputes are about putting the safety of the travelling public before the profits of the private train companies.

"It is frankly ludicrous that we have been able to negotiate long-term arrangements in Scotland and Wales that protect the guards and passenger safety but we are being denied the same opportunities with rail companies in England.

"This suspension of normal industrial relations by the employers has to end if we are to make progress towards a solution that guarantees safe rail travel for all."

A Department for Transport spokesman said: "Despite the best efforts of the RMT to cause misery for passengers, the train companies will keep passengers moving with the majority of services running as planned.

"This dispute is not about safety and no-one is losing their job - employees have been guaranteed jobs and salaries for several years.

"The independent rail regulator has stated unequivocally that driver-controlled trains, which have been used in this country for more than thirty years, are safe."