Another strike as questions asked over train ‘bailout’
RAIL SERVICES across Yorkshire were being curtailed again today following the confirmation of a 35th strike by members of the RMT union, over the roles of train guards.
Evening services on most Northern routes were cancelled, with some lines also closed through the day.
The latest strike comes amid revelations that Northern Rail’s parent company, Arriva, and its German owner are in crisis talks with the Government over the level of taxpayer subsidy the franchise receives.
During the year to March 2017, £279m was handed to Northern, on top of the estimated £300m it collects from passengers. Ministers are committed to reducing the subsidy by £16m a year – but the former Rail Minister, Jo Johnson, has told MPs that Northern’s handout during the succeeding 12 months had gone up by £3m.
Passenger numbers on its services are believed to be falling as commuters abandon the rails following a summer of delays and cancellations caused by a botched timetable change in May.
Northern said: “These delays were out of our control and have impacted growth in passenger numbers.”
The RMT described the firm as “a basket-case company seeking further public bail-out”.
Its general secretary, Mick Cash said: “Arriva are milking the taxpayer for over a quarter of a billion pounds a year in subsidies and can then secure an additional bail-out from public funds for loss of income during a strike.”
The RMT has called further Saturday strikes on every week until the end of the year.