More misery for train passengers as unions announce new strikes on Northern line

Northern rail passengers face more strike errors.
Northern rail passengers face more strike errors.

Rail passengers face more misery in the latest round of strike action in a long-running safety dispute.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union at Arriva Rail North, the parent company of North-East rail operator Northern, will walk out on Friday, September 1, and Monday,

September 4.

The strike will hit travellers using Sunderland, Seaham, Hartlepool, Seaton Carew and Billingham stations along the Metro Centre and Newcastle line to Middlesbrough and Nunthorpe.

Its timing has angered Northern bosses as it coincides with the final Friday of the summer holidays and the first Monday back at work and school for many people.

The union, meanwhile, slammed the companies and the Government for pressing ahead with its controversial plans to extend the number of driver-only trains.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash has accused Arriva Rail North of "intransigence", adding: "The responsibility for the inevitable disruption lies wholly with the company.

"We are angry and frustrated that Arriva continue to fail to face up to the facts and also continue to ignore a perfectly reasonable union proposal to invite the DfT (Department for Transport)

to join us in round-table talks aimed at finding a solution.

"The public, who support RMT's campaign for a guarantee of a guard on their trains, will be appalled that Arriva Rail North have failed yet again to offer any kind of progress whatsoever in

the talks and have instead opted to try and bulldoze through their plans regardless."

Alan Chaplin, Northern's managing director, said: "Following our meeting with RMT's general secretary, there is no doubt that the trade union calling two days of strikes timed to coincide

with people across the North returning to school, college and work after the holidays, will damage the region's economy, significantly disrupt our customers' lives, and impact local

businesses.

"Northern is prepared to guarantee jobs and current pay for all our conductors for the next eight years, until the end of our franchise. Our offers to discuss every detail on the future

responsibilities and training for on-board colleagues have been rejected by RMT.

"Northern is modernising with new and updated trains, faster and more frequent services, and better stations from now until 2020.

"We want to make changes to the on-board colleague role to make it fit for the future, better supporting customers on trains and at stations."

Northern has previously run a reduced timetable on strike days.