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Corbyn backs RMT's 24-hour strike to keep guards on trains

JEREMY CORBYN has backed rail union RMT’s campaign to keep guards on trains ahead of a 24-hour strike tomorrow.

The Labour leader showed his support for the union’s Unguarded campaign by retweeting a film featuring passengers highlighting the guards’ important safety role.

Mr Corbyn said: “This RMT union film shows why it is essential to keep guards on our trains. Please share and support this important campaign. #KeepTheGuardOnTheTrain.”

His endorsement comes as Merseyrail and Northern staff stage a 24-hour strike in the long-running dispute over rail privateers’ drive to abolish the role of the guard on trains.

The two companies are among those seeking to boost profits in this way.

RMT, whose members are conducting a campaign of strikes against the plan, said it had reached agreements with train operators in Scotland and Wales on the guards’ role, but the union’s attempts to forge a deal with Merseyrail and Northern had been “kicked back” in its face.

General secretary Mick Cash said: “It is frankly ludicrous that we have been able to negotiate long-term arrangements in Scotland and Wales that protect the guards and passenger safety but we are being denied the same opportunities with rail companies in England.

“Every single effort that RMT has made to reach negotiated settlements in these separate disputes with Northern and Merseyrail over safe operation and safe staffing has been kicked back in our faces.

“No-one should be in any doubt — these disputes are about putting the safety of the travelling public before the profits of the private train companies.”

He said Transport Secretary Chris Grayling and Prime Minister Theresa May were happy to see state-owned overseas operators sacking guards and ripping off passengers in Britain to subsidise state-run railways in their own countries.

Merseyrail, which has reduced its services because of the severe weather, urged passengers to check before they travel tomorrow because of the strike — the 16th since the dispute began.

There will be no services on some lines around Liverpool and Chester.

Northern said timetables would be “significantly amended,” with around 44 per cent of usual services running.

The strike coincides with engineering works in Manchester and Blackpool.

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