Rail strike: Drivers refuse to cross picket line in show of solidarity

More services than expected were down in 30th strike over guardless trains


Drivers are refusing to cross picket lines today out of solidarity with members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport Union (RMT) who are on strike over plans for driver-only trains.

The Press Association reports rail services on Southern Railway, Merseyrail and Arriva Trains North were curbed further than bosses expected, as drivers refused to effectively break the strike.

Up to 2,000 RMT drivers mounted picket lines today outside stations, in the 30th strike in an ongoing row over scrapping guards on trains, which the unions say risks passenger safety.

As the PA reports:

“Merseyrail had hoped to run almost half its services, but a number of drivers refused to cross picket lines.

The company said it was running around 20 per cent of services, far fewer than previously advertised.

Trains were still running on most routes, every half an hour, but they were not stopping at every station.”

Andy Heath, Deputy Managing Director of Merseyrail, said: ‘It is unfortunate that many drivers took the decision not to work today.’

More than half of services on Arriva are expected to have been cancelled, while Southern said it aimed to run most of its 2,200 trains.

But RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:

“The RMT action on Merseyrail this morning is absolutely solid, with pickets out in force at all key points and the response on the ground has been wholly positive. It has been a massively successful operation.”

He said the public understood the issues at stake, adding: ‘This strike is about safety and about putting the welfare of the travelling public before the profits of the private rail companies.’

He called on Merseyrail to start ‘serious talks’ with the union to ‘secure a safe future for their services and the guarantee of a guard on their trains.”

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