Sheffield rail services disrupted as workers hold latest strike in row over role of guards 

Sheffield railway station.
Sheffield railway station.

Rail passengers across South Yorkshire face further disruption today (Saturday) as workers hold a further strike in the long-running dispute over the role of guards.

Workers on Arriva Rail North (Northern) will stage 24-hour walk-outs every Saturday in September in a dispute over the introduction of driver-only operation on their services.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union will walk out Saturday, September 1, 8 15, 22 and 29 following the failure of talks.

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The strikes were held following an announcement on Friday of an agreement in principle to resolve a similar dispute at Merseyrail.

RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said: "The resilience and determination of RMT members on both Northern and South Western Railway in the continuing fight for safety, security and access on our trains is a credit to the trade union movement.

"They are standing united and determined again this morning on picket lines at key locations across both franchises.

"It is scandalous that while other train operators have been prepared to engage seriously with RMT on the crucial issue of a guaranteed second safety-critical member of staff on their services Arriva Rail North and SWR have slammed the door in our faces.

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"It's time for both these companies to get out of the bunker and start talking with the union on the issue of the guard guarantee. RMT will not allow safety, security and access on our railways to be compromised in the drive for private profit."

Richard Allan, deputy managing director of Northern, said: "The RMT's announcement of yet more strike action is disappointing and frustrating. This will be a blow for our customers.

"It comes despite Northern proposing and entering into a joint working party with RMT on the future of the on-board role. We have agreed a terms of reference for those talks, agreed to discuss the RMT's preferred outcome first and then held four days of talks with RMT in recent weeks.

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"Northern is doing everything possible to find a solution to the RMT's dispute and maintains that talking costs nothing, whilst strike action causes inconvenience to customers and damages the case for long-term investment in rail."

For more information and details of timetable changes visit