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More rail disruption facing commuters

Rail commuters travelling from Beverley face more disruption to their journeys on Saturday March 3 following an announcement from the RMT union that their members will be taking strike action as part of an ongoing dispute over the role of the guard and driver-only operation. It will affect trains operated by Northern Rail.

In announcing the strike action, RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “Every single effort that RMT has made to reach negotiated settlements in separate disputes with Northern and Merseyrail over safe operation and safe staffing has been kicked back in our faces. No one should be in any doubt, these disputes are 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 far 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 talks in both of these disputes.”

Richard Allan, Northern’s deputy managing director, said: “We are delivering our modernisation plans for customers with almost £500m of new trains under construction, £7m spent so far on improving our stations, 70 refurbished trains in service, 400 extra people recruited, and much more to come by 2020.

“We are still prepared to guarantee jobs and hold pay reviews for our 1,300 conductors until the end of our franchise in 2025, with the Government guaranteeing jobs beyond that if RMT ends its strike action. RMT has recently rejected our request to hold a fresh ballot of Northern conductors after nearly a year of strike action.

“We are concentrating our efforts on running as many services as possible on Saturday 3 March to keep our customers moving.”