Members of the RMT union on three rail franchises have walked out again on Monday (4 September) in the long-running dispute over the role of guards, as the union threatened the latest franchise holder with industrial action over the same issue.
Union general secretary Mick Cash said: ‘The resilience and determination of our members in the three separate disputes over passenger safety on Northern, Southern and Merseyrail is right at the forefront again this morning.
Merseyrail's new trains could run without guards
‘Support remains absolutely solid in all areas as RMT members continue the fight to put safety and access before private profit on Britain's railways.'
Paul Plummer, chief executive of the Rail Delivery Group, which represents train companies, said: ‘Britain’s railway connects communities across the country and train companies are doing all they can to keep passengers moving on the day many students return to school or college, and people are going back to work.’
The RMT has held strikes on Southern, Northern and Merseyrail services last Friday and today, with an additional strike on Merseyrail yesterday.
Northern Rail said it would be running a significantly reduced service with most trains operating between 7am and 7pm and services on some routes finishing earlier.
Merseyrail said it would run a reduced service on all three days with some stations closed and no trains running ‘for a few hours in the middle of the day’.
Southern said a full service was expected to operate ‘on all routes’, but with some exceptions. West London line services are not operating and Southern services to and from Guildford are also not running. The company invited passengers to use alternative South Western Railway (SWR) services to complete their journey.
However, the RMT has now declared a formal dispute with SWR, which took over the franchise last month, after the firm failed to give ‘clear, cast-iron assurances over the future of guards’. It will ballot for strike action and action short of strike in the form of bans on overtime and rest day working.
An SWR spokesman said: 'This dispute is unnecessary, we have made it perfectly clear that we plan to retain a second person on our services as we know that our passengers value the assurance and assistance a second member of on-board staff provides.'