Brace Yourselves Commuters: Rail Walkouts Are Planned For Same Day As Tube Strike

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Brace Yourselves Commuters: Rail Walkouts Are Planned For Same Day As Tube Strike
Southern is one of the train operators that may suffer from the strikes

Workers on Southern rail, Merseyrail, Arriva Rail North and Greater Anglia are set to strike on 3 October and 5 October in disputes over the role of guards, the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union announced today.

Strikes will be held between 00:01 and 23:59 on Tuesday 3 October and Thursday 5 October. The latter date is also when a bumper tube strike is set for the capital, with train drivers' union Aslef saying tube drivers will stage a walkout in a dispute over working conditions.

The RMT said members will take two days of action over the potential extension of so-called driver only operation after a lack of guarantee on the role of the guard.

The union has been in a long-running row with Southern rail over the issue, stretching over a year, and said today it is taking further action, after the government and Southern owner Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) did not respond to the RMT's call for roundtable talks.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash, said:

RMT has a clear plan for resolving this dispute but that requires round table talks now to push forwards. This fiasco cannot be allowed to drag on any longer. The union stands ready and waiting for genuine and meaningful talks with all parties and we are pressing Mr Grayling to get his contractors into line as a matter of urgency.

Nick Brown, chief operating officer for GTR, said:

We are disappointed by this unnecessary action and the RMT's continued refusal to engage with us in modernising the railway. Last strike, we ran a normal service on most of our routes but passengers will inevitably be affected in places and we deeply regret any inconvenience these strikes will cause.

Modernisation is urgently required to future-proof and increase capacity on this, the busiest part of the UK railway where passenger numbers have doubled in 12 years.

The row has since spread to other train operators, with a spate of industrial action being held across Merseyrail and Arriva Rail North.

Merseyrail criticised the timing of the strikes, saying they were set to coincide with upgrade work on Liverpool Lime Street.

Jan Chaudhry-van der Velde, Merseyrail’s managing director, said: "We are busy trying to build a better city region with an improved railway. The RMT seem to be doing everything in their power to destroy this work. Don't they want Liverpool to succeed?"

The train company will publish an amended timetable, and details for alternative travel arrangements in the coming week.

This article originally appeared on City A.M.

Last Updated 19 September 2017