Trains cancelled across Yorkshire - and now staff threaten to strike over Christmas pay

WORKERS at Northern Rail, which this morning posted delays and cancellations across its Yorkshire network, are to be balloted for strike action in a dispute over Christmas pay, it was announced this morning.

The Rail Maritime and Transport union said its conductor members at the firm will vote in the next few weeks on whether to launch a campaign of industrial action, with the result due on December 20.

The union said it had put forward a "perfectly reasonable proposal" that staff should be paid the "appropriate rate" for working the additional public holidays created as a result of Christmas falling on a weekend this year.

RMT general secretary Bob Crow said: "The spirit of Scrooge is alive well at Northern Rail. Everyone in the country knows that Monday 27 and Tuesday December 28 are classed as substitute public holidays and in negotiations with Northern Rail RMT has demanded that all conductors should receive double time for working on these dates.

"That is a very modest and reasonable recognition of Christmas Holiday working, however the company has rejected our proposals.

"As it stands, staff rostered to work those days will not receive any enhanced payments. This situation is wholly unacceptable."

The company runs trains across the North of England.

A Northern Rail spokesman said: "Agreed terms and conditions are in place for all employees, including conductors, to cover bank holiday working and the RMT has acknowledged that this is the case. However, they are now asking for payment over and above this agreement.

"Tens of thousands of customers use our services every day and threatened action, if it takes place, will only serve to cause disruption and inconvenience to the very people we are here to serve."

Northern Rail is not planning to run any trains at all on Christmas Day or Boxing Day.