Rail union strikes to hit Northern today

Rail union RMT has said that MPs are backing its fight against driver-only train operations as strikes seep into a third day.

The Northern line was hit by strikes over the weekend, continuing into Monday (10 July).

RMT has said that MPs are warning that driver-only operations, the crux of the argument between RMT and Northern line operator Arriva Rail North, will reduce access for disabled passengers.

It said that MPs from across the North of England have put their name to a parliamentary motion warning that Northern Rail’s plans for driver only trains will reduce access for disabled passengers.

The MPs motion warns “that the Government and Northern Rail’s proposals to remove the guarantee of a guard on every Northern Rail train will mean many people with disabilities will not be able to turn up and go and travel if there is no guarantee of a second member of staff to assist them on and off the train…”

RMT also said that its lawyers had received a “non response” from Northern Rail over concerns that driver-only trains would put the operator in breach of rail access regulations which require a ramp, and member of staff, to operate the ramp on every train.

RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said: “Far from providing more visible staff, Northern are proposing to de-staff trains completely on a multitude of routes, while at the same time ending the guarantee of on-train assistance on numerous other services.

“We have already been inundated with concerns that de-staffing trains will increase the risk of anti-social behaviour. On top of this we now have MPs warning that because most stations are unstaffed, de-staffing trains as well will discriminate against passengers who need help getting on an off the train.

“It is not only MPs who are concerned, a recently leaked report for the ATOC/ Rail Delivery Group, of which Northern is a member, also says Driver Only Trains discriminate against disabled passengers.

“Instead of misleading passengers we are calling on Northern to clarify how de-staffing trains will not discriminate against passengers who require assistance.”

Rail replacement buses will also be used to supplement the rail services and rail tickets will be accepted on Arriva buses, including Yorkshire Tiger, between 8-10 July.

For more information on timetabling visit the website: https://www.northernrailway.co.uk/industrial-action