Rail strikes to cause prob­lems for rugby sup­port­ers


Manchester Evening News - - NEWS - By RE­BECCA DAY and ALEXAN­DRA RUCKI

RUGBY fans head­ing to tonight’s Su­per League Grand Fi­nal are be­ing warned of a train strike.

Wigan will take on War­ring­ton at Old Traf­ford at 6pm in a bat­tle to claim the pres­ti­gious Su­per League Tro­phy.

But sup­port­ers trav­el­ling on the rail net­work will have to plan ahead, as a walk-out staged by North­ern staff will mean there won’t be many trains run­ning.

Only 30 per cent of ser­vices will be run­ning – with barely any planned for be­fore 9am and af­ter 6pm.

This week­end will be the eighth con­sec­u­tive Satur­day of strikes or­gan­ised by RMT union mem­bers work­ing at North­ern.

The walk-out is over a long-run­ning dis­pute over the role of train guards.

Liam Sumpter, re­gional direc­tor at North­ern, said: “On Satur­day, as a re­sult of RMT strike ac­tion, we will only be able to run a very limited ser­vice, with most trains to and from Manch­ester start­ing af­ter 8am and fin­ish­ing be­fore 7pm.

“It is dis­ap­point­ing that RMT has cho­sen to strike on a day which has such im­por­tant for the rugby league fans across the north of Eng­land.

“We are do­ing ev­ery­thing we can to run as many trains as pos­si­ble, but op­tions to and from War­ring­ton and Wigan are ex­tremely limited. We are, there­fore, ask­ing our cus­tomers to plan care­fully and, where pos­si­ble, use al­ter­na­tive trans­port.”

For fans head­ing to and from War­ring­ton, East Mid­lands Trains and Ar­riva Trains Wales will be run­ning a reg­u­lar ser­vice be­tween Manch­ester and War­ring­ton.

Liam added: “We are work­ing closely with col­leagues across the trans­port in­dus­try - and with Su­per League - to give fans as many op­tions as pos­si­ble to get to and from the sea­son fi­nale.”

Mean­while, pas­sen­gers are set to be plagued with yet more week­ends of rail dis­rup­tion with North­ern staff plan­ning to stage walk-outs into next month.

The Rail, Mar­itime and Trans­port Work­ers Union has con­firmed a raft of new strike dates.

Union mem­bers have been in­structed to not work on Satur­day, Oc­to­ber 27, Satur­day, Novem­ber 3 and Satur­day , Novem­ber 10. RMT Gen­eral Sec­re­tary Mick Cash said: “RMT con­tin­ues to make ev­ery ef­fort to get se­ri­ous and mean­ing­ful talks go­ing with North­ern but the com­pany are not in­ter­ested and would pre­fer to con­tinue to bury their heads in the sand re­gard­less of the im­pact on the trav­el­ling pub­lic. “Ger­man-owned North­ern Rail want to run nearly 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.

“RMT has se­cured agree­ments on other English fran­chises that en­shrine the guard guar­an­tee.

“Sim­i­lar agree­ments have also been reached in Wales and Scot­land.

“Ar­riva Rail North need to do the right thing and come to an agree­ment that se­cures a guard on their trains too.

“We thank the pub­lic for their sup­port and un­der­stand­ing through­out this dis­pute over rail safety and ac­cess and the union re­mains ready for gen­uine and se­ri­ous talks.”

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