COMMUTERS and rail passengers can expect further strike action that may possibly disrupt Northern Rail journeys.
Members of the RMT union will be on strike for the next five Saturdays as a long-running dispute goes on.
Concerns over the introduction of ‘driver only’ trains by Arriva Rail North, which operates Northern Rail, is the reason for the dispute.
Now Northern services tomorrow, next Saturday and October 6, 13 and 20 are set to be caught up in the problem after further action was announced.
October 13 promises to be a particularly problematic day as about 70,000 rugby league fans, many of whom live near stations operated by Northern, are expected at Old Trafford for the Super League Grand Final.
But RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said: “This dispute and the further industrial action we have announced would have been entirely preventable if the company had listened to the unions deep-seated safety concerns, had taken them seriously, stuck to their earlier commitments and had put passenger safety before profit.
“The company’s intransigence has forced our hand and given us no option but to announce this latest phase of industrial action. The disruption to services will be entirely down to Arriva Rail North and their pig-headed attitude.
“RMT remains available for genuine and meaningful talks around the guard guarantee and we await a response from the company to that offer.”
A Northern Rail spokesman said: “This Saturday, September 22 – the third Saturday of RMT strike action – we are operating a reduced timetable with very few trains running before 9am and after 6pm.
“We expect to run around 30 per cent of services and all customers are advised to plan carefully if they intend to travel on the rail network.
“Unfortunately, on some routes, we aren’t able to run services, while others have a limited service.
“On those routes where we are able to operate trains, we expect all services to be extremely busy. We also have replacement bus services available on some routes where trains aren’t running.”