Rail and bus strike woes

A previous RMT protest outside Wigan Wallgate
A previous RMT protest outside Wigan Wallgate

Bus and rail passengers will be left feeling the effects of strike action across Wigan today.

Rail staff are walking out as part of a long-standing dispute over driver-only trains, affecting Northern services in the borough.

And the latest in a series of stoppages will also hit cross-town bus routes for Arriva.

Representing bus drivers and engineers, Unite regional officer John Boughton said: “The workers are fed up with this continuing diet of inadequate pay offers when the company makes handsome profits, yet our members struggle to make ends meet as wages lag behind rising inflation.

“We appreciate that these strikes will cause disruption to the travelling public, but the ball is very much in the company’s court. They have the financial clout to settle this dispute at the stroke of a pen.”

Similar rail strikes are set to take place on Merseyrail and Southern services.

Mick Cash, general secretary of the RMT Union, said: “These strikes are about rail safety and accessibility pure and simple. Only this week at the Wimbledon derailment it was the guard on that train who safely evacuated 300 passengers in an emergency situation.”

Phil Stone, managing director for Arriva North West: “It is disappointing that, having met with the unions last week where we tabled two further improved pay offers they are unwilling to take these back to their membership for a vote.

“Instead customers have to endure yet more days of unnecessary strike action.”

Sharon Keith, Northern’s regional director, said the company was prepared to guarantee jobs and pay for conductors for the next eight years if an agreement could be reached on “better customer service”.

The companies say they remain open to fresh talks with the unions. Further bus strikes are pencilled in for November 13, 20 and 27.