RMT lobbies Transport for the North board members over keeping guards on trains

The RMT has written an open letter to all Transport for the North Board members calling on them to issue a clear statement supporting keeping guards on trains.

Ahead of their meeting today, the union has also called on them to oppose government plans to use tax payers money to bailout Arriva Rail North for  revenues lost as a result of industrial action.

In the letter to TfN board members, general secretary Mick Cash warns: “Arriva Rail North has little regard for the views of Transport for the North members and the company are were instead doing the bidding of their paymasters in Whitehall.

“It is clear government’s intervention in the dispute last week was nothing more than a deliberate and cynical attempt to mislead the travelling public.

“It is also obvious that Arriva Rail North have no incentive to resolve the dispute because the government will reimburse the company for revenues lost as a result of the industrial action. Parliamentary questions have shown that the government is considering a request from Arriva Rail North to be reimbursed. The Rail Minister has said the terms of this bailout is “commercially confidential,” although we do believe that the company will have already been issued a “letter of comfort” from the government.

“I would now urge all Transport for the North members to show some independence from Whitehall, and issue a clear unequivocal statement that you expect Arriva Rail North to keep a safety critical guard on all trains and that the government should refuse to bailout Arriva Rail North for revenues they have lost as a result of industrial action.

“All RMT is asking for is that Northern passengers keep a safety critical guard on every train and that passengers will continue to benefit from the safety and operational competencies guards currently provide. All we are asking for is for arrangements similar to those that have already been agreed for the introduction of new trains under the auspices of other devolved transport authorities such as Transport for Scotland and Transport for Wales.”

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