Fresh September strike dates announced on Southern rail, Merseyrail and Arriva Rail North

Rebecca Smith
Southern rail has been involved in a long-running dispute with unions
Southern rail has been involved in a long-running dispute with unions (Source: Getty)

Another flurry of strikes have been set for Southern rail, Merseyrail and Arriva Rail North in an ongoing row over the role of the guard, the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union announced today.

Workers on Southern rail, Merseyrail and Arriva Rail North, which trades as Northern, will strike over the first weekend in September.

Drivers and guards on Southern rail have been told to strike from 00:01 and 23:59 on Friday 1 September and Monday 4 September, while Merseyrail drivers and guards will strike on Friday 1 September, and from Sunday 3 September until the end of Monday 4 September.

Read more: RMT calls for round table talks with all parties in Southern rail dispute

The union said walkouts on Arriva Rail North will go ahead on Friday 1 September and Monday 4 September.

The RMT said the Southern rail dispute, which has meant disruption for passengers for over a year, continues after Southern owner Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) hadn't responded to the union's call for roundtable talks.

Mick Cash, RMT's general secretary, said: “RMT is bitterly disappointed that Southern rail have rejected our call for round table discussions involving all parties with an interest in resolving this dispute. The failure to get those talks moving following our face to face meeting with Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has left us no option but to call further action."

A Southern spokesperson said they were "disappointed by this unnecessary action" and said the train firm will "make every attempt to minimise disruption".

The union said Arriva Rail North had blocked progress in talks.

Alan Chaplin, Northern’s managing director, said:

Northern is prepared to guarantee jobs and current pay for all our conductors for the next eight years, until the end of our franchise. Our offers to discuss every detail on the future responsibilities and training for on-board colleagues have been rejected by RMT.

Northern is modernising with new and updated trains, faster and more frequent services, and better stations from now until 2020. We want to make changes to the on-board colleague role to make it fit for the future, better supporting customers on trains and at stations.

If this strike action goes ahead, we will do all we can to keep customers on the move as much as possible.

The row over so-called driver only operated trains has spread to a range of train operators. Last month, the RMT announced it will ballot guards and drivers on Greater Anglia too, saying the firm had failed to give a guarantee on the role of the guard throughout the length of the franchise.

Richard Dean, Greater Anglia's train service delivery director said conductors were "highly valued colleagues and we have no plans to remove them from our trains". He added that meetings with the union will continue in an effort to resolve the issue.

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