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Tameside commuters set to be affected by another rail strike
Tuesday 29th August 2017 @ 14:49 by Adam Higgins
Greater Manchester News Tameside

Commuters across Tameside are set to be affected by a two-day rail strike in the next seven days – a fourth walkout in the space of seven months.

The strike will impact on services on Friday 1 September and Monday 4 September and is by RMT Union members in the ongoing dispute over rail safety and a prospective move to driver-only trains.

It will affect Northern services across Greater Manchester – including between Hadfield and Manchester Piccadilly which calls at Newton, Flowery Field and Guide Bridge – with only a skeleton service in operation.

This would mean drivers and guards from Arriva Rail North, which operates the Northern rail franchise, would stage a 24-hour walkout on both of the aforementioned dates.

Northern said in a statement: “The majority of available trains will operate between 7am and 7pm, with services on some routes finishing earlier. During these hours, the overall number of trains running will be significantly reduced.

“We expect trains and any replacement buses we operate will be extremely busy.”

RMT Union confirmed the strike action after claiming that Arriva Rail North had blocked any chance of making progress in talks with the union’s General Secretary Mick Cash.

Mr Cash said: “Yet again, we have been confronted with the sheer intransigence of Arriva Rail North and means that we have no option but to confirm a further round of strike action.

“The responsibility for the inevitable disruption lies wholly with the company. We are angry and frustrated that Arriva continue to fail to face up to the facts and also continue to ignore a perfectly reasonable union proposal to invite the Department for Transport to join us in round table talks aimed at finding a solution.”

He added: “The union continues to remain available for meaningful discussions with the company in order to seek a satisfactory resolution to the ongoing dispute.”

In response, Richard Allan, Northern’s deputy managing director, said: “We are deeply disappointed and hugely frustrated that RMT is choosing to cause more pain for our colleagues and customers rather than get round the table to talk first.

“We have been clear that for all our conductors we are prepared to guarantee jobs and current pay, and continue with annual pay reviews, if we can reach agreement with RMT.”

Northern have released a revised timetable for services between Hadfield and Manchester Piccadilly on both days of the strike, which is as follows:

The latest industrial action follows one-day strikes in March and April this year and a three-day strike in July. Another strike was due to take place at the end of May but was suspended in the wake of the Manchester terror attack.

With trains likely to be extremely busy, passengers intending to use the rail network on either of the two days are advised to give themselves more time to travel and consider whether their journey is necessary.

Transport for Greater Manchester, which is helping to co-ordinate the region’s response, is urging people to plan ahead and consider carefully their travel arrangements.

It is working to support Northern’s own customer communications effort and has created a special travel information page on its website to help keep Greater Manchester commuters on the move:

TfGM’s Transport and Event Planning Lead, John Fryer, said: “We are taking action to minimise the disruption to the transport network but we know it will still be very busy, particularly as many schools across the region return.

“Commuters can play their part to minimise disruption and our advice is simple: plan ahead, be prepared, and think about all your travel choices.

“Can you travel at a different time or does your employer allow you to work from home? If you can travel at a quieter time, or in a different way – by bus, tram, bike, foot or a mixture – it can make a massive improvement not just to your journey but to people who simply don’t have a choice.”