Lichfield City station

Rail bosses say they are “disappointed” after talks failed to prevent planned strikes which are set to hit services in and out of Lichfield.

Lichfield City station

Members of the RMT Union will begin the first of seven planned Saturdays of industrial action this weekend.

The union has accused West Midlands Trains, which operates West Midlands Railway on the cross city line and London Northwestern Railway on the West Coast Main Line, of attempting to “bulldoze through driver only operation and rip apart the safety critical role of the guard”.

But a spokesperson for West Midlands Trains said the industrial action will not been beneficial for any parties.

“We are very disappointed that Saturday’s action by the RMT is going ahead,” they said.

“A strike benefits nobody and will inconvenience businesses and thousands of local rail users.

“There is no need for this action, we have never proposed driver only operation. We are committed to keeping a safety-critical conductor on every passenger train.”

The company said attempts to reach a compromise had been unsuccessful.

“In recent days, we proposed a solution which meets the latest demands from RMT, in respect of our new trains when they are delivered,” they said.

“The solution means conductors retain responsibility for safe train despatch from stations.

“We remain determined to find a way of resolving this dispute without further disruption and inconvenience for our passengers.

“We are running a reduced service on Saturday using managers who have guard competency.

“Passengers are advised to check their journey carefully before leaving home.”

“Inevitable and serious disruption”

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said any disruption caused this weekend lay firmly at the feet of bosses from West Midlands Trains.

“Strike action on West Midlands Trains goes ahead as planned from this Saturday in the face of the company’s refusal to pull back from their threat to bulldoze through driver only operation and their attack on the safety critical role of the guard,” he said.

“The inevitable and serious disruption to services will be wholly down to the company and their refusal to agree to the safest possible means of operation.

“We will not allow the drive for profit to override the core issue of safe and accessible services for all on West Midlands Trains and we stand firm on that very basic principle.

“We will never compromise on the issues of passenger safety and accessibility.

“The union remains available for talks.”

Founder of LichfieldLive and editor of the site.

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7 Comments

  1. Alan – it’s do with visibility for the driver. Tube stations are perfect laid out for OMO (one man op) as the platforms are perfectly straight. Not the case with all train platforms.

  2. Thanks for the clarification. I don’t travel to London very often; a couple of times a year but it always amazes me how easy the tube system is to use. It’s amazing how many people can cram into a carriage at rush hour and how quickly you can cross the city.

  3. Who has the contract to run this service ? the RMT ? I thought it was West Midlands Trains.
    If I was disillusioned with an employer, I used to turn my back on them and vote with my feet, even if the new remuneration was less attractive. Dispute rarely has beneficial outcomes. Contentment within the work environment involving a vast proportion of one’s life was always a higher priority than the shekels, as one needed less of them if contentment prevailed. Once turned down a 48% pay rise when involved in a dutch auction between existing and potential employer. 30% more was more appealing than 48%. 18% more just wasn’t worth sticking with the discontentment, as it would have been merely frittered in coping. Just one of life’s lessons..

  4. Bizarre boasts about payrises aside, I’d just like a safe railway to travel on. Overcrowding levels are genuinely hazardous on some services, incidents from anti-social behaviour to sexual assault do happen on the Cross City Line, but private operators don’t care about passenger safety and are happy to chance their arm and leave drivers to manage risks, e.g. crushing injuries/people being trapped in doors/people being dragged along between train and platform/disorder on trains. The RMT would run things a lot better than the greedy rip-off merchants of West Midlands Trains – as a daily commuter on the Cross City Line I wish them every success in their action.

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