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Rail workers at Northern and South Western Railways launch strikes to keep guards on trains

WORKERS at Northern and South Western Railways launched strike action today in the long-running dispute over keeping guards on trains.

Members of rail union RMT will strike for 24 hours, leading to delays and fewer trains than normal. The union has said that it called for bosses to get round the table to break the deadlock in the ongoing row over the safety-critical guards.

However, both companies have failed to hold meaningful negotiations with the union, with the RMT saying that it highlighted the companies’ scant regard for long-suffering passengers.

Furthermore the two companies have applied for compensation from the government for any profits lost due to the strike action.

Under the franchises agreed by the government’s Transport Department and the profit-hungry privateers, the taxpayer has to fork out to keep the companies’ profits rolling in during strike action.

RMT says the franchise deal gives the employers no incentive to settle the dispute, as they know their profits will not be affected.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “There is no excuse whatsoever for these companies to be throwing guards off their trains in a dash to pump up their profits.

“Both of these disputes can be settled if ARN and SWR choose to follow the best safety practice adopted elsewhere in the industry. It is now time for them to do just that.”

Northern, which is owned by German-state run firm Deutsche Bahn, said it would run a “significantly reduced” service, while South Western, part-owned by a firm based in Hong Kong, said half of its normal Saturday service will operate.

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