Arriva Train North: 24-hour strike on Grand National

Workers on Arriva Train North are staging a 24-hour strike on Grand National, rail union RMT has said.

The ongoing dispute over staffing and the role of conductors is causing the industrial uproar.

Guards and drivers are walking out on April 8 to fight for their jobs.

The company is planning to introduce new trains in coming year, which will be driver-only operated.

RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said: “The date we have announced, the 8th April, gives Arriva Rail North ample time to get round the table with us and negotiate a settlement that puts passenger safety right at its core.

He said that this situation was preventable if the company had taken them seriously, stuck to their earlier commitments and put passenger safety before profit.

The strike will be a travel misery for hundreds, possibly thousands of passengers on Grand National.

Disruption in the services will hit people going to the biggest race in the world.

The union said they recognise the severe impact the strike will have, but asked the public to understand that they have no other option.

They are hoping by taking the high-profile action the company will be forced back to the negotiating table.

Mr Cash said: “The company’s intransigence has forced our hand and given us np option but to announce this latest phase of industrial action.”

The union warns the Government is co-planning with the company to axe rail staff and compromise the safety of passengers.

The Department for Transport have launched a new innovation competition with up to £9 million to support UK businesses in developing technological solutions for the railway.

Innovations will “help deliver optimal staffing for a high-value, low-cost railway”.

“Intelligent trains” will reduce the reliance on complex and expensive rail infrastructure and control systems and through automation transition the role of railway staff from direct control and operation to supervision.

 

Daniela Velkova

Journalist University of Sheffield

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