Wednesday, March 1, 2017

News: Strike threat on Rotherham trains

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Members of rail union, the RMT, have voted for action on Northern Rail services with a date for a strike set for March 13.

Guards and driver members have voted for both strike action and action short of a strike after the franchise operating company, Arriva Rail North, failed to give assurances on the future role of the guard on their services.

Northern provides rail services at Rotherham Central Station.

Workers are concerned over the potential introduction of trains with doors operated by drivers (Driver Only Operation), favoured by the Department for Transport. Arguments centre on cost-cutting and safety.

RMT has now confirmed industrial action as follows, asking members not to book on for any shifts between 00:01 hrs and 23:59 hrs on Monday March 13. Members voted by 83.6% for strike action and by 93.5% for action short of a strike.

In addition, the union is kick starting a renewed campaign, involving the general public and targeting politicians across the area served by Arriva Rail North aimed at maximising political and public support for RMT's fight for a guaranteed guard on the company's services.

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Mick Cash, General Secretary at the RMT, said: "RMT members have voted by a massive majority for both strike action and action short of a strike on Arriva Rail North in a dispute which is all about putting public safety before private profit. The company now has the best part of two weeks to sit down with us, address the core issues at the heart of this dispute and negotiate a settlement before the action commences.

"The company's intransigence has forced our hand and given us to option but to announce industrial action. The disruption to services will be entirely down to Arriva Rail North reneging on their earlier commitments. The union remains available for genuine and meaningful talks and we expect the company to take up that offer as a matter of urgency."

The union claims that Arriva Rail North has reneged on previous positions and responded to questions over providing a second person on all passenger services by saying: "We are not in a position to offer either of these guarantees at this present time."

A spokesman for Northern said: "As our modernisation proposals are still in the early stages, it is a shame that RMT has announced strike action for Monday 13 March. Our aim is to reach a constructive resolution and we urge RMT to continue the talks we have already started.

"We want to protect jobs and pay, and during our recent discussions we offered to consult fully with our people, customers and key stakeholders.

"If strike action goes ahead, our customers can be reassured that we have plans in place to keep them moving. During any strike action, we plan to run a revised service and will shortly release further information."

Images: SYPTE


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