The RMT union announced strikes on five separate rail franchises next month as ASLEF sought approval for a deal that would settle its dispute with Southern over driver only operation (DOO) and give drivers a 28% pay rise over five years.
Members of the RMT, which mainly represents guards and staff moved from that role, instructed members on Southern, Greater Anglia, South Western Railways and Island Line to strike on Wednesday 8 and Thursday 9 November over DOO.
RMT members on Northern and Merseyrail have been instructed to strike for 24 hours on 8 November.
General secretary Mick Cash said: ‘Every single effort that RMT has made to reach negotiated settlements in these separate disputes with the different train operating companies over safe operation and safe staffing has been kicked back in our faces and we are left with no option but to confirm a further phase of industrial action in early November.’
Paul Plummer, chief executive of the Rail Delivery Group, which represents train operators, said: ‘Passengers, communities and the economy want investment to improve journeys now and for the long term, and this will mean more jobs, not less, on top of the 50% increase in train company staff in the last twenty years.
‘Britain’s rail companies are working together to keep the nation moving and support the economy while RMT strikes seek to disrupt a vital public service that millions of people rely on every day.’
Separately, the leadership of drivers' union ASLEF’s put its agreement with Southern to members in a referendum, with a recommendation to accept. General secretary Mick Whelan said the deal gave drivers a 28.5% increase over the next five years and ‘confirms and underpins the terms and conditions under which our members at Southern are employed’.
He said: ‘The proposed agreement on DOO means we will have a second safety-trained person on every train covered by this agreement except in exceptional circumstances. That person will have all the relevant safety competence including the skills to evacuate passengers in an emergency.’
ASLEF's members have twice rejected proposed deals with Southern over DOO, which were not linked with pay. Its strikes have had significantly more effect on Southern than those by the RMT.