Further Northern strikes announced in Christmas run-up

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guard outside trainImage source, PA
Image caption,
The RMT said Northern has not made "a single serious offer" to resolve the dispute

A further series of 24-hour strikes is to be staged by Northern rail workers in the weeks leading up to Christmas.

Services in the North East, North West and Yorkshire will be affected by five walkouts on Saturdays between 17 November and 15 December.

Industrial action is already scheduled for 3 and 10 November regarding the firm's plan to remove train guards.

Northern said the RMT union was "cynically" targeting festive events and called for talks to reconvene.

Saturday will be the 34th day of strike action in the long-running dispute.

Northern previously said it had managed to run 30% of services across the North from Cumbria, Merseyside, Yorkshire, the North East and down to Lincoln when staff took industrial action.

RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said it should "pull back" from its plan "immediately".

Why are the rail workers taking action?

  • The two-year dispute centres on the increase of driver-only-operated trains
  • Driver-only-operated trains are where the driver, rather than the conductor, opens and closes the doors
  • A third of Britain's services already have this in place and it has been in operation for about 30 years
  • The rail safety regulator says it is safe - a position that has been supported by the government
  • Rail unions disagree - they say the on-board conductor or guard has a much better view of the doors and can stop people getting trapped
  • The London tube network is driver-only operated

David Brown, Northern's managing director, said the firm's appeal to resume talks had been ignored.

He added: "They have responded by cynically targeting the weekends in November and December to hit Christmas markets and important seasonal events.

"RMT's strikes are causing more and more unnecessary difficulty and inconvenience for our customers and a significant loss of earnings for their members."

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