RAIL passengers will face more disruption later this month after the RMT union confirmed another 24-hour strike over the future of train guards.
Union members employed by Arriva Rail North, which operates the Northern franchise, will strike on Friday, April 28.
The announcement follows earlier strike action on Monday, March 13, and Saturday, April 8, as the union claims Arriva has ‘failed to offer any progress’ in talks over the dispute.
Mick Cash, general secretary at RMT, said: “The public, who support RMT’s campaign for a guarantee of a guard on their trains, will be appalled that Arriva Rail North have failed to offer any kind of progress whatsoever in the talks and have instead opted to try and bulldoze through their plans regardless.
“It is that flagrant disregard for the safety issues at the heart of the dispute which leaves us with no option but to put on this further day of strike action.
“RMT commends our Arriva Rail North members on their rock solid display of strength, resolve and unity during the action so far in opposition to the introduction of driver controlled operation and defence of the guards to guarantee a safer, securer and more accessible railway for all.
“The union continues to remain available for meaningful discussions with the company in order to seek a satisfactory resolution to the on-going dispute.”
RMT claims that Arriva is ‘digging its heels in’ on the issue of a second safety-critical member of staff on its trains, and that the firm has reiterated its intention to introduce at least 50 per cent driver controlled operation across the franchise.
Richard Allan, deputy managing director at Northern, said the firm is 'very disappointed' at the announcement by RMT.
“More than anything, we are sorry for the disruption it will again cause our customers, but we have robust contingency plans in place to keep our customers on the move where possible," he said.
“Everyone has a big role to plan in shaping our modernisation plans. There is a lot to discuss and we urge RMT to get back round the table with an open mind as soon as possible.
“In addition to protecting jobs and current pay, we are also willing to offer future, annual pay reviews for existing conductors if we can agree a deal with RMT.”