Strike action set to cause disruption for South Yorkshire rail passengers

Rail services.
Rail services.

Strike action on the railways is set to hit South Yorkshire passengers this week.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union on Arriva Rail North (Northern) will walk out for 24 hours on June 19, 21 and 23 in a long-running dispute over the roles of guards on trains.

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It provides more woe for commuters after the company has been under fire in recent weeks because of daily delays and cancellations to rail services.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: "We have seen over the past fortnight that Northern is a company which has declared war on its passengers and staff alike. "RMT will not stand aside while the threat to axe safety critical guards from Northern services remains central to the company plans.

"This company has reduced the timetable to total chaos and the union will not allow them to slash the safety culture to ribbons in the same fashion.

"It is a tribute to the determination and professionalism of RMT members on Arriva Rail North that they have remained rock solid for over a year now in what is a clear-cut battle to put public safety before private profit.

"German-owned Northern Rail want to run half a million trains a year without a safety critical guard on board in a move that would wreck both safety and access to services and they should listen to their front-line staff and pull back from that plan immediately.

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"RMT has agreed arrangements in Wales and Scotland that enshrine the guard guarantee. If it's good enough for Wales and Scotland to have safe rail services it should be good enough for the rest of Britain."

Northern launched an eight-week interim timetable on Monday, removing 165 trains - six per cent of its services.

The company's policy is for passengers to only claim compensation based on the alternative timetable rather than previous versions.

The reduced timetables failed to stop Monday becoming the start of a third week of rail chaos for passengers.

A spokesperson for the company said Northern will "run as many services as possible each day" during the strike action.

They added: "On Tuesday and Thursday, the majority of available trains will operate between 7am and 7pm as we focus on running as many trains as we can to get you into work and home again.

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"On Saturday, most trains will run between 7am and 7pm, though, on a handful of routes, services will begin to wind down earlier.

"As the overall number of trains running will be reduced across the three days, we expect trains and any replacement buses we operate to be extremely busy. Please allow extra time for journeys, plan carefully and consider whether travel is necessary."