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MPs call for rail privateer Arriva to be stripped of its franchise

ELEVEN MPs are calling for rail privateer Arriva to be stripped of its franchise to operate Northern Rail services, which they describe as being “in crisis.”

The MPs’ call has the backing of transport union RMT, which confirmed today that further strike action over the role of safety-critical guards on Northern Rail will take place on May 24 and May 26.

Gateshead Labour MP Ian Mearns led the MPs’ call for an inquiry and for the service to be taken into public ownership. They signed an early day motion making the demand to the House of Commons.

Eight of the MPs are Labour and three are from the Liberal Democrats, SNP and DUP.

The motion says that passengers across the North are “being left waiting at stations, not knowing when, or if, trains will run.”

It also says Arriva’s plans to introduce driver-only operated trains “will exacerbate those problems,” pointing to similar problems at Thameslink and Southern Rail.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “The crisis in Northern Rail has the exact same causes as that which infected Southern services, namely greedy private train bosses trying to run the railway at minimum costs and not caring about the consequences for passengers.

“They know that the government will prop them up come what may.”

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