There has finally been a breakthrough in the long-running dispute between Northern rail and train staff – and rolling strike action has been suspended.
The dispute over the future role of conductors on trains has seen members of the Rail Maritime and Transport Union (RMT) stage walks out affecting rail services across the network on 47 days of Saturday strike action.
On Wednesday it was announced the strike is suspended after the RMT agreed to recommence talks with Northern amid guarantees over the role of conductors on trains.
But Northern say it is too late to change the strike timetable back to a normal timetable for this Saturday (9th February).
Northern have confirmed they will run about 700 services with few services running after 5pm, and customers are advised to check before they travel.
From Saturday 16th February Northern WILL be resuming the full Saturday timetable.
RMT say Northern have now offered a guarantee of a conductor on all trains, including the new fleet, for the duration of the current franchise.
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said: “Firstly I want to pay tribute to RMT’s members on Northern Rail whose resilience and determination though two years and 47 days of action has been the foundation on which today’s major breakthrough has been based. They are an absolute credit to both this union and the wider movement.
“I also want to thank the travelling public for their extraordinary support and both Andy Burnham and Steve Rotheram for their efforts that have been important in allowing us to break the deadlock today.
“Today’s offer of a guarantee of a conductor on all services throughout the duration of the franchise, including the new fleet, is the substantial progress we have been pushing for and has allowed RMT’s executive to take the decision to suspend the current action and allow for further talks to now take place with all stakeholders around the operational details.”
David Brown, managing director of Northern said: “We warmly welcome RMT’s decision to suspend its strike action and recommence talks about what the future role of the conductor looks like.
“We have been very clear in these discussions that there will be a conductor on all our trains now and into the future. We are looking forward to further positive talks with RMT about operational models moving ahead so that we can resolve their despite and bring it to an end.
“The suspension of the RMT strikes is good news for customers and businesses across the North.”