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  • Strike action on Northern rail suspended following 'substantial progress'

    Henry James

    RAIL union RMT has announced that “substantial progress” in talks has allowed them to suspend the two year programme of strike action on Northern Rail over the retention and the role of the guard on their trains.

    Through the talks process, the union has said that Northern has now offered a guarantee of a conductor on all trains, including the new fleet, for the duration of the current franchise. The guarantee is supported by the Department for Transport.

    Further talks, involving all stakeholders, will now seek further agreement on “operational models moving forwards”.

    RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “Firstly I want to pay tribute to RMT’s members on Northern Rail whose resilience and determination though two years and 47 days of action has been the foundation on which today’s major breakthrough has been based. They are an absolute credit to both this union and the wider movement.

    “I also want to thank the travelling public for their extraordinary support and both Andy Burnham and Steve Rotheram for their efforts that have been important in allowing us to break the deadlock today.

    “Today’s offer of a guarantee of a conductor on all services throughout the duration of the franchise, including the new fleet, is the substantial progress we have been pushing for and has allowed RMT’s executive to take the decision to suspend the current action and allow for further talks to now take place with all stakeholders around the operational details.

    “The union will make further statements in due course.”

    David Brown, managing director, of Northern responded: “We warmly welcome RMT’s decision to suspend its strike action and recommence talks about what the future role of the conductor looks like.

    "We have been very clear in these discussions that there will be a conductor on all our trains now and into the future. We are looking forward to further positive talks with RMT about operational models moving ahead so that we can resolve the dispute and bring it to an end.

    "The suspension of the RMT strikes is good news for customers and businesses across the North."

    Northern went onto say that, “changing a strike timetable back to a normal timetable is a very complex task,” and added it is “unfortunately too late for Northern to reintroduce a full timetable in time for tomorrow (Saturday, February 9).”

    They will run about 700 services with few services running after 5pm.

    They advise customers to check before they travel. From Saturday, February 16, they will be running a full Saturday timetable.

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