Monday strike chaos is here as the RMT union begins walkouts across Southern rail, Northern and Merseyrail

 
Rebecca Smith
Southern rail has been dealing with strike action for months
Southern rail has been dealing with strike action for months (Source: Getty)

It's not just Southern passengers who are being hit with strikes by the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union next week.

The union's dispute over the changes to the role of the guard is spreading, with a 24-hour walkout today on the Merseyrail and Northern lines, as well as Southern.

An injunction effort from Merseyrail failed last week; the same outcome as Southern's attempt back in December.

The RMT said 2,000 staff across the networks will be walking out, after the train operators failed to give "cast-iron" assurances over the future of the guard.

Read more: Southern rail says the RMT's strikes are proving much less effective

Merseyrail said:

We argued that the decision to order a new train which would operate without traditional guards, was taken by council leaders and councillors in December 2016 and that Merseyrail had no choice but to implement these plans, and could therefore not provide the guarantees the RMT has been looking for.

The operator said it was doing all it could to provide a service today. Services will run from around 7am until 7pm every half hour on all routes, with six-car trains. However, it said that might change.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said the injunction failing was "an important victory" for the union.

"However, it is frankly ludicrous that Merseyrail have been wasting important time and money on bogus legal challenges this week when they should have been sat round the table with the union negotiating a safe and sustainable settlement to this dispute which gives the travelling public the guarantee of a guard on their trains. The strike action goes ahead," he added.

Read more: 1,000 flights cancelled thanks to strikes - and there's more chaos ahead

Southern had said last week it expects to run the majority of its services, though the RMT said its action was having a "continuing impact", after the train operator called its walkouts "increasingly impotent and ineffective".

Northern meanwhile expects to run a revised timetable and around 40 per cent of its normal timetable, and those that are running will be "extremely busy". It has told passengers to avoid if travelling if they can, with services unlikely to start before 7am, winding down between 5pm and 7pm.

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