The Rail, Maritime and Transport Union (RMT) has announced its members employed by Northern Rail will strike on every Saturday in January in a continuing battle over the role of train guards.

The news comes as members gear up for their 41st day of strike action this Saturday. They will also walk out for 24 hours on 29 December.

RMT continues to claim that Arriva Rail North is ‘putting profits ahead of safety’ and ‘attacking the role of guards’ by bringing in driver-only trains. It says the company ‘refuses to engage in serious and meaningful talks’ around the issue.

The union has already struck deals with train operators in Wales, Scotland and other parts of England, but Arriva Rail North has called for an inquiry over the dispute.

RMT secretary general Mick Cash said: “RMT continues to make every effort to get serious and meaningful talks going with Northern, but the company are not interested and would prefer to call for an inquiry into the dispute to deflect attention from the impact of their behaviour on the travelling public.

“German-owned Northern Rail want to run nearly half a million trains a year without a safety-critical guard on board in a move that would wreck both safety and access to services and they should listen to their front-line staff and pull back from that plan immediately.”

RMT members at South Western Railway will also stage strikes on 22, 27 and 31 December over the same dispute.

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