Rail strike misery warning

Rotherham rail passengers are being warned of strike action which could wreck their seasonal travel plans.

Workers at Northern Rail are to strike on December 27 and 28 after their bosses were accused of acting like “Scrooge” in a row over bank holiday pay.

The Rail Maritime and Transport union said about 1,000 members would be withdrawing their labour after voting for industrial action.

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It wants conductors to receive double pay for working the bank holidays.

Northern Rail—which normally runs about 2,500 services every weekday on a network that links Leeds to cities such as Wakefield, Sheffield, York and Manchester—said it was disappointed by the strike and would run a limited service on some routes.

The train operator said the pay for bank holidays had been agreed with the union several years ago, after conductors traded double pay for other benefits including increased salaries and extra annual leave.

But Bob Crow, RMT general secretary, said: “The spirit of old Scrooge is alive and well on Northern Rail and our conductor members have shown in this ballot that they will not be treated as second-class citizens this Christmas.

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“There is no agreement in place from Northern Rail for the additional public holidays on December 27 and 28 that everyone else will be benefiting from this year.

“You only have to look at the sporting calendar to see that these days are full-on public holidays everywhere other than in the minds of the senior management at Northern Rail.”

He said Northern Rail had made £85m in profits in the past four years.

Ian Bevan, managing director of Northern Rail, said: “We are very disappointed that the RMT is going ahead with strike action when only 361 of 976 conductors voted for a strike.

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“We have said all along that we will honour the existing agreements that we have with the trade union, and we are always willing to hold further talks.

“Our priority now is to ensure that our passengers have all the information they need to make an informed decision about their travel plans on December 27 and 28.”

Details of the revised timetables for the two strike days will be available from Northern Rail, National Rail Enquiries and staffed stations, a Northern Rail spokeswoman said.


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