North East rail operator Northern urged to talk to unions

Northern rail bosses have been urged to sit down with unions
Northern rail bosses have been urged to sit down with unions

North East train operator Northern is being urged to hold fresh talks with unions bosses.

The Rail, Maritime and Transport union has written to a number of operators, including Northern, warning of a 'crisis' in the industry over the scaling back of renewal works and jobs.

The union is embroiled in disputes at Northern, Southern and Merseyrail, which have led to a series of strikes and is preparing to ballot members at Greater Anglia as well as setting a deadline for assurances on the future role of the guard on South West Trains.

The union met Transport Secretary Chris Grayling last week to discuss the disputes.

General secretary Mick Cash said: "Whilst the Secretary of State had suggested the meeting to discuss the dispute on Southern, the union also took the opportunity to raise the other driver-only disputes or potential disputes such as on Northern, Greater Anglia, South West Trains and Merseyrail.

"The Secretary of State claimed he was not sitting on companies telling them what to do and we are, therefore, writing to all of the relevant companies seeking urgent discussions.

"We also took the opportunity to raise the urgent crisis and threat to jobs facing our members because of the scaling back of rail renewal work and the impact on such companies as Babcock Rail and Carillion.

"The union forcibly expressed our view that these jobs must be saved to protect key engineering skills and the integrity and safety of the rail infrastructure."