Northern: RMT rail strikes to continue after talks collapse

guard outside train Image copyright PA
Image caption Northern said there would be "very few trains" running after 17:00 GMT during the strikes

Talks to avert more strikes by rail workers in a long running dispute over guards on trains have collapsed.

The Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union said more walkouts on Northern would now go ahead every Saturday in December.

The RMT called the firm a "basket-case" franchise and a "disgrace", blaming it for the breakdown in talks.

Northern said "all options" would be "considered" over a second member of staff on its services.

Northern has warned passengers of major disruption during the next round of strikes - planned for 8, 15, 22 and 29 December - with "very few trains" running after 17:00 GMT on those days.

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RMT general secretary Mick Cash said it was "clear" Northern was either "unwilling or unable" to address "fundamental issues at the heart of the dispute".

"Despite the spin from the government last week, the very basic issue of a funding package to underpin a second person on Northern trains has been booted into the long grass," he said.

The RMT added that the strikes would go ahead and said the blame lay "fair and square with the company".

Richard Allan, deputy managing director of Northern, said it went into the meeting with an "open mind" and the firm wished "to continue discussions".

He added that all options would "be considered that involve the deployment of two members of staff on Northern services".

"Any customer who needs help with access, personal security, information, ticketing and so on will have a member of staff, in addition to the driver, on board trains to help them," he said.

The troubled rail firm suffered a summer of "chaos" following the introduction of new timetables in May, and then it had its worst punctuality figures for over two years in October, according to figures gathered by data-scraping website trains.im.

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