Com­muters fac­ing dis­rup­tion

Sunday Sun - - News -

NORTH East com­muters have been warned “dis­rup­tion will be un­leashed” af­ter talks failed to avert a rail strike planned for next week.

The RMT rail work­ers union said ne­go­ti­a­tions with Ar­riva Rail North broke down, mak­ing it highly likely the 24-hour strike on Novem­ber 8 will go ahead.

It could mean travel chaos for com­muters but the rail com­pany said it is fo­cused on en­sur­ing some ser­vices can still op­er­ate. The in­dus­trial ac­tion is over the in­tro­duc­tion of driver-only trains, which the union fear will lead to re­duced safety lev­els for pas­sen­gers.

RMT gen­eral sec­re­tary Mick Cash said: “The ab­ject fail­ure of Ar­riva Rail North bosses to take to­day’s talks se­ri­ously means that the ac­tion next week goes ahead and the dis­rup­tion that will be un­leashed will be en­tirely down to the com­pany’s fail­ure to en­gage with the union. RMT ne­go­tia­tors en­tered to­day’s talks in good faith but it was soon clear North­ern Rail were just go­ing through the mo­tions.

“This dis­pute is about pub­lic safety and the fact that North­ern can’t or won’t grasp that ba­sic fact leaves us with no op­tion but to strike again next week.

“Pas­sen­gers will un­der­stand that the key is­sue is about putting pub­lic safety be­fore pri­vate profit and we thank them for their con­tin­u­ing sup­port.”

The strike ac­tion in this re­gion is part of a na­tion­wide co­or­di­nated ef­fort across sev­eral fran­chises.

A 24-hour strike by Merseyrail work­ers is also planned for Novem­ber 8 and 48-hour strikes will hit South­ern, Greater Anglia, South Western Rail­ways and Is­land Line over Novem­ber 8 and 9.

Northum­bria Po­lice Crime Com­mis­sioner Vera Baird QC

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