From The Argus –
Commuters are due to face disruption with the announcement of another train strike in the new year.
Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union will walk out on January 8 as part of a long-running dispute over the role of guards and driver-only trains.
The union said it had made “every single effort” to resolve the bitter disputes, which it insisted were about safety.
The strikes will cause fresh problems for passengers, days after rail fares increase.
RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “Every single effort that RMT has made to reach negotiated settlements has been kicked back in our faces and we are left with no option but to confirm a further phase of industrial action.
“No one should be in any doubt. These disputes are about putting the safety of the travelling public before the profits of the private train companies
“It is frankly ludicrous that we have been able to negotiate long-term arrangements in Scotland and Wales that protect the guards and passenger safety but we are being denied the same opportunities with rail companies in England.
“This suspension of normal industrial relations by the employers has to end if we are to make progress towards a solution that guarantees safe rail travel for all.”
Mr Cash said the Government should lift its “blockade” on talks in the separate disputes to allow the union to negotiate “freely” with the companies.
“Their decision is even more regrettable as it comes on the same day that we had invited them to talks in the hope of reaching a resolution to their long-running dispute.
“We ask them to call off the strike and come to the negotiating table as we have suggested on many occasions.”