RMT and Northern weekend strike update

30th November 2018

Despite the announcement yesterday (29 November) by the Department for Transport and Transport for the North with regards to a commitment to retaining a second person on board Northern services, the RMT issued deadline for correspondence by noon today came and went.

Northern today then re-affirmed their commitment to resume talks and released the following statement:

A Northern spokesperson said: “Northern has invited RMT to talks at ACAS in order to resolve its dispute. We are pleased that RMT has agreed to recommence talks at ACAS with no pre-conditions and we look forward to resolving this long-running dispute. Those talks can build on recent public statements made by Transport for the North and Department for Transport on the customer service and other benefits that will come about with a second person retained on Northern services in the future.

"We want to make it clear to customers that the timetable for tomorrow, Saturday 01/12/18, cannot now be changed because it takes a number of days to reinstate a normal timetable. Regardless of whether or RMT continues its dispute tomorrow, the Northern service tomorrow will be the revised timetable of around 700 services, between 8am – 5pm.”

RMT then released a statement to confirm that the strikes will still go ahead because the noon deadline had not been met, expressing disappointment that Arriva Rail North had failed to make any response to the union call.

The following statement was made by RMT general secretary Mick Cash:

“RMT made it clear that we needed a formal response from Northern Rail by noon today to the core principles around the role and responsibilities of the second person on their trains. We are angry and frustrated that no such response has been forthcoming and as a result of the company’s failure the action goes ahead tomorrow exactly as planned.

"It has only been the resilience of RMT members and our supporters from the ‎travelling public whose solidarity and determination have been instrumental in getting the focus of the dispute back on to the guarantee of a second person on the train. It is deeply disappointing that the company have failed today to meet the union’s call to move the issues forwards.”

Following both of these statements, it did seem that the deadlock would continue for the foreseeable future. However, there does seem to be a glimmer of light for long suffering Northern passengers as a letter (seen below) has been released this eveningconfirming that talks between both parties and ACAS (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) will now take place next week.

Author: Darren Porter
Image: Northern Rail | RMT