More Northern rail strikes to be staged in October

A fresh round of strikes on Northern rail routes has been announced as a long-running dispute continues.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) at Arriva Rail North will walk out on October 6, 13 and 20 as part of a wrangle over the role of guards on trains.

Northern was accused of failing to give assurances on the guarantee of guards on its services. Talks between the RMT and Northern ended without agreement on Wednesday.

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Union general secretary Mick Cash said: "The company has continued to fail to provide any offer that comes close to resolving this dispute and their latest attempts at delaying talks has not gone unnoticed.

"Before the result of the re-ballot, I sent a letter to the company asking them to make the necessary arrangements for a meeting to take place.

"I never received a response from the company and they have made no attempt at trying to resolve this dispute since.

"It would appear that once again the company were riding their luck in the desperate hope that we would not be successful in another re-ballot.

"However, our members have stood rock solid and it's down to the company to get out the bunker and get serious talks under way.

"There's a simple solution to this dispute and it means South Western Railway stop playing with words and negotiate the guard guarantee that reflects the best safety practice elsewhere in the industry.

"That is the package we have successfully negotiated in both Wales and Scotland and on a number of English franchises.

"It defies belief that we are being denied the same positive outcome on the South Western Railway routes."

Mr Cash said the Northern dispute would have been "entirely preventable" if the company had listened to the union's deep-seated safety concerns.

"In spite of the collapse of this week's talks, RMT will not be deterred in its efforts and will continue to campaign both industrially and politically to ensure passengers using Arriva Rail North Train Services are afforded the respect they deserve and are provided with a continued and guaranteed safe, secure and accessible railway."

There have been weekend strikes on Northern routes during September.