BreakingStrike action set to hit Christmas rail services
West Midlands Railway workers are set to take strike action on seven Saturdays leading up to and through the Christmas period.
The RMT trade union said it had been left with "no choice" other than to call the industrial action "over plans by the company to bulldoze through driver only operation".
Members have been instructed to not book on for any shifts on seven consecutive Saturdays starting 16 November, it added.
The RMT has opposed the introduction of driver-only-operated trains - where drivers close doors instead of guards - which started rolling out across the country in 2017.
The union's general secretary Mick Cash said: "We will not allow the
drive for profit to override the core issue of safe and accessible services for
all on West Midlands Trains and we stand firm on that very basic principle."
The Office of Rail and Road, in charge of safety on the railways, has previously said "with suitable equipment, proper procedures and competent staff in place, it is a safe method of working".
West Midlands Railway said if the strike goes ahead contingency plans have been made to run a skeleton service using managers.
We are disappointed at the outcome of the ballot. We have committed to keeping a guard on every passenger train. We reached a framework agreement with RMT in May last year which guaranteed a safety-critical conductor on every passenger train. We remain determined to find a way of resolving this dispute without disruption and inconvenience for our passengers."
It's been a big week for the Midlands Air Ambulance team, they've flown their 54,000th mission since beginning in 1991.
It covers six counties - West Midlands, Staffordshire, Shropshire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire - and responds to some of the most serious accidents as well as reaching rural locations inaccessible by land ambulance.