Hartlepool rail service workers set to strike

Services by Northern Rail could be affected by action by RMT members.
Services by Northern Rail could be affected by action by RMT members.

Workers for a train company which operates services in and out of Hartlepool look set to strike.

Staff at Northern Rail have voted to go on strike in a row over jobs and safety.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union backed walkouts by 80%, and other forms of industrial action by 90%.

Northern Rail, which runs trains in Hartlepool and across the North East, has said the dates of the strike are still to be established.

It will then be able to tell customers which service will be affected.

The union said it is in dispute over a series of issues, including the removal of permanent posts and the creation of zero-hour jobs, via a contract with a security company, cuts to booking offices and attacks on the role and responsibility of train guards.

The union said Northern Rail had also given no commitment that there will be no compulsory redundancies beyond the end of its current franchise in February 2016.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “RMT has made every effort to win assurances from Northern Rail over jobs, services and safety. However, the company continues to ride roughshod over our efforts.

“We therefore had no option but to ballot all staff for action, to force the company to take these issues seriously and the members have now voted decisively for action.

“That mandate will now be considered by the union.”

Adrian Thompson, HR director for Northern Rail, said: “Only 38 per cent of members who were asked to vote, voted yes to this. That means 62 per cent of people who were asked to vote either voted no or did not vote.

“Some of the RMT’s issues within this strike ballot are about the requirements for the next Northern franchise, which starts in April 2016.

“We have explained to the RMT that this means the issues they are concerned about are not part of Northern Rail’s current franchise, and are not within our control to change. They would need to be discussed with the new operator of the franchise from April 2016.”