RMT offers to scrap this weekends Northern Rail strike action

Northern 156491 departs Leeds
Credit: RailAdvent

RMT has announced that they have offered to suspend the planned strike action on Northern Rail if they agree to a series of crucial guarantees.

The planned strike action is all about the ongoing dispute over the role of guards on trains.

This follows weeks of Saturday strike action, with more in the pipeline for the rest of December.

Here are the following measures for Northern to accept

1. There is an absolute 100% guarantee that no trains will run without the second member of staff on board.

2. That the second member of staff will be clearly designated as safety critical to the running of all services.

3. That the second member of staff will retain the full suite of safety and operational competencies of the guard, including a direct role at the platform/train interface and train despatch.

This is definitely a step in the right direction, however, we do not know yet whether Northern has accepted these proposals.

What did the officials say?

RMT’s executive has agreed the following position;

‎”This union is and always has been available for talks and we are prepared to engage in talks immediately via ACAS. We welcome the correspondence from Transport for the North, the Department for Transport and the company. We note however that Arriva Rail North have not made any clear proposals to this union to resolve this dispute.

“We are available across the weekend and would welcome talks commencing as soon as possible and further reiterate our numerous previous requests for tripartite talks with both the company and DFT.

“In addition, we will be prepared to suspend the industrial action planned for Saturday 1st December 2018 providing that clarity is received from the company regarding ‘a new proposal that will see the retention of a second person on-board trains’ and specifically around the following three points.

We will require this clarity no later than 12:00 on Friday 30th November 2018 in order to suspend the action.”

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said,

“Firstly I want to pay tribute to the RMT members and our supporters from the ‎travelling public whose solidarity and determination have been instrumental in getting the focus of the dispute back on to the guarantee of a second person on the train.

“It is now imperative that the company clarify the role and safety critical status of that second person as set out by our executive to allow for a suspension of this weekend’s action and for talks to take place.”

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Michael Holden avatar
I have had an interest in Railways for as long as I can remember. I am a member of a number of heritage railways and actively volunteer at 2 of them. I enjoy all types of railways, real life, model and simulations. I started RailAdvent in 2014 and am the main editor of the site.

6 COMMENTS

  1. I have no empathy with the guards on Northern Rail services.

    I use many services around the Blackburn Hub and have observed much poor behaviour from them. The odd exception I admit, however the main cohort seem to lack any customer service skill. If they could leave the ‘platform interface safety’ to the driver and concentrate on on-board services, perhaps services would run on time. I see regular their ineptitude delaying prompt opening off the doors and similarly timely departures.

  2. I am disabled and use a wheelchair. The guards are definitely needed and do a great job. It is totally outrageous expecting the driver to operate the ramps at the stations. The driver has enough work to do driving, he just doesn’t sit there with his hand on the controls, it is very stressful.
    I have witnessed unruly passengers that have been dealt with by the guard. The driver cannot just stop the train and stop the disruption.

  3. I hope that it can be dealt with but still I still think that RMT and Northern would probably continue having disagreements with guards not being paid which is leading to more and more strikes to happen. Next year will see more strikes to happen. Including on South Western Railway.

  4. Northern are not intending to remove conductors from all trains. The proposal is for the driver to operate the doors on the new trains and, possibly, some existing trains e.g. the Aire Valley electrics. All existing conductors jobs are guaranteed.

    The RMT accepted this on Greater Anglia as well as accepting that in some circumstances trains would operate in DOO mode.

  5. RMT are a bunch of clowns. Mickey Thomson is a bully!! Its 2018 we are not stuck in the 70s what with your brothers/sisters and comrades!!
    Get a grip you bunch of complete idiots.

  6. I use the service about 10 times a year traveling from Leighton Buzzard and boarding the Northern Rail service from Preston to Burnley Barracks.
    I would like to point out that most of the stations dont appear to have ticket offices which can encourage people to board the trains without tickets and basically have a free ride without guards on board , The trains are very dated and Northern Rail along with other train operators need to seriously look at keeping the guards on trains. For me they are very helpful, humorous in many cases and from my experience very efficient, actually on my route mentioned asking passengers if they need to get off at any particular station along with helping disabled passengers. I believe National Rail will lose a lot of money if they have only Drivers on trains. Most people i believe would prefer a guard not only for help but also safety, particularly vulnerable people. Please consider my comments, National Rail you have some wonderful staff. Look after them and they will look after you and also us the customer.

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