Sheffield rail services to be disrupted as workers walk out for 44th day of strike action

Rail passengers in Sheffield have been warned to expect another Saturday of disruption as workers remain locked in a bitter row over the role of guards.

Members of the Rail and Maritime Union will walk out once again on Saturday in what will be the 44th day of action in the dispute.

Campaigners stages protests outside Sheffield railway station earlier this month against the increase in rail prices. Picture: Steve Ellis

Campaigners stages protests outside Sheffield railway station earlier this month against the increase in rail prices. Picture: Steve Ellis

RMT general secretary Mick Cash paid tribute to its members for their ‘sheer guts and resilience’ but rail operator Northern warned there would be very few services running after 5pm.

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The strikes come following a fare rise of an average of 3.2 per cent at the beginning of the year and months of delays, disruption and cancellations on the railway last year.

Mr Cash said: “The company have whacked up fares and have shown that they are awash with passenger cash and public subsidies that would easily fund the guard-guarantee on their trains.

Northern said there would be very limited services running after 5pm on Saturday.

Northern said there would be very limited services running after 5pm on Saturday.

“It is the sheer guts and resilience of our members over 43 days of action that has kept the fight for safe and accessible rail travel for all across the Northern franchise in the spotlight while the company refuse to get out of their bunker and enter serious talks.

“We thank the public for their continuing support and understanding in a dispute which is about putting rail safety before private profit.”

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Northern said it would run around 700 services but warned passengers that services were expected to be ‘extremely busy’.

Mick Cash, general secretary of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union.

Mick Cash, general secretary of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union.

The company called on RMT to suspend its strike action and accept an independent inquiry by conciliation service ACAS.

David Brown, managing director at Northern, said: “More than 50 per cent of all rail journeys in the UK are made on driver-controlled trains and recently the Department for Transport and Transport for the North publicly confirmed that a second person – in addition to the driver – would be retained on Northern services.

“This second person will provide customer service, including meeting customer needs on accessibility, safety, security, ticketing and information.

“Therefore, there is no reason for the RMT to continue its disruptive and economically damaging strikes but despite this, the RMT continues with its strike action.”

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Stagecoach Yorkshire said it would add extra journeys to its X10 and X17 services on Saturdays as the dispute rumbles on and a number of Megabus services will run between Sheffield and Leeds and Meadowhall and Leeds.