Union claims of ‘solid’ support in railway strike

A Northern Rail train
A Northern Rail train

Rail union leaders say strike action which led to a much reduced train service across much of Lancashire was ‘well supported’.

The three day walkout by members of the RMT union ended at midnight last night.

The union is concerned at plans by train operator Northern to introduce driver only operation on half of all services.

The walkout was the longest so far in a dispute which began in April.

Union boss Mick Cash said: “Once again RMT members are standing firm in the fight for safe and accessible rail services.

“The action on Northern and Merseyrail is being solidly supported across all routes in the battle for safe railways for all.

“RMT members were out on the picket lines putting the basic principal of rail safety before the profits of the rogue rail operating companies.

“Both Northern and Merseyrail should get out of the bunker, stop doing the bidding of their political masters and start talking seriously with the union about a safe and secure future that guarantees the role of the guard on their trains.”

Northern drafted in managers and backroom staff to keep services running with around 40 per cent of the normal timetable in operation.

The company insists the changes would not impact on passengers and a second member of staff would be on the majority of services.

Northern, owned by Arriva, itself a subsidiary of German state railway Deutsche Bahn, has the requirement to introduce driver only operation written into its franchise agreement with the Department for Transport.

The firm has rejected RMT claims that safety would be compromised.

A group of MPs has tabled a motion to the House of Commons calling on the Driver Only Operation plan to be reviewed.