Rail passengers in the East Midlands face disruption due to strike action

Rail passengers in the East Midlands face disruption after union bosses announced further strikes in row with train bosses.

Thursday, 29th July 2021, 9:48 am

Rail Union RMT said train managers on East Midlands Railway will be striking on Sundays in August and September as they escalate industrial action in a row over safety on EMR’s new electric trains, which it is introducing on services between London and Corby.

The union says EMR has imposed new working arrangements on the multi-unit 12-carriage trains which it believes are unsafe, with only one train manager working on them – although EMR said it “does not operate any 12-carriage trains”.

The union said it has “no other alternative than to escalate the dispute and call strike action in the form of not working 12-car trains alone and strike action across a number of Sundays”.

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Mick Lynch, union general secretary, said: “This dispute is about safety. EMR has introduced new working arrangements for Class 360 trains without any formal agreement with RMT.

“RMT believes the method of working the company has imposed is not safe and a second safety-critical person should be in each portion of the multi-unit trains.”

Strike action will take place on Sundays, August 8, 15, 22 and 29 and September 5, 12, 19 and 26, affecting the electric EMR Connect services, and EMR’s Intercity services between London and Sheffield, via Chesterfield.

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‘Unnecessary action’

An EMR spokesman said: “The safety of our customers and staff will never be comprised or put at risk. This action is unwarranted and unjustified.

“EMR consulted with the RMT for six months before these trains were brought into service.

“Every EMR Connect service includes a safety-critical train manager on board. Furthermore, these trains have been in service since May and there has not been a single operational or safety incident due to their method of operation.”

One of East Midlands Railway's new Class 360 electric trains for its EMR Connect services between London and Corby.

“As a result of this unnecessary action, EMR will be introducing a reduced Sunday timetable for our Connect and Intercity services, from August 8.”

It said its regional services, including Norwich-Liverpool, via Chesterfield, and Derby-Matlock were unaffected, although these have been hit by another strike.

In May, the RMT called strike action among EMR senior conductors in a row over contracts.

The action, which saw staff walk out on Sundays in May, was later extended to include Sundays in June, July and August.

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