Commuters who use Northern Rail will be hit by another two days of strike action as RMT announces further action over guards and safety concerns.
The rail union today confirmed a further 48 hours of strike action – the latest in an ongoing battle over the introduction of driver-only trains.
Members are being told to strike for a full 24 hours on Monday, March 26 and Thursday, Mark 29.
The union has also demanded talked with National Rail and the Department for Transport with the aim of reaching a resolution to the ongoing battle.
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said: “Every single effort that RMT has made to reach a negotiated settlement with Northern Rail over safe operation and safe staffing has been kicked back in our faces.
“No one should be in any doubt, this dispute is 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.
“Theresa May and Chris Grayling are happy to stand aside and cheer on overseas rail companies that rip-off the British passenger with eye-watering fare increases to subsidise their domestic transport operations while throwing the guards off our trains.
“If it’s good enough for Wales and Scotland to put safety first then it’s good enough for the rest of the UK. RMT remains ready for the tripartite talks we have suggested.”
Northern Rail has responded to RMT’s announcement that it intends to carry out further strikes this month.
Deputy managing director Richard Allan said: “Our modernisation plans are well underway with almost £500 million of new trains under construction, 90 refurbished trains in service, £7 million spent so far on improving our stations, extra services from May, and more to come by 2020.
“We urge RMT to move away from its nationally co-ordinated campaign and allow its local representatives to engage in meaningful discussions with us on how we better serve customers on-board.
“We are still prepared to offer unprecedented guarantees of jobs and pay reviews until the end of our franchise in 2025, with the Government guaranteeing jobs beyond that if RMT ends strike action.
“RMT has also rejected our request to hold a fresh ballot despite one in five conductors having started in the role since the RMT dispute started, and have therefore never had a vote.
“We are now concentrating our efforts on running as many services as possible for customers on 26 and 29 March.”