Update: Rail union RMT has confirmed the strike action against West Midlands Railway will go ahead as planned this weekend.
RMT general secretary Mick Cash said:“RMT 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 at the platform/train interface.
“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.”
A spokesperson for West Midlands Trains said: “We are very disappointed that Saturday’s action by the RMT is going ahead. 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 (DOO). We are committed to keeping a safety-critical conductor on every passenger train.
“In recent days, we proposed a solution which meets the latest demands from RMT, in respect of our new trains when they are delivered. 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.”
West Midlands Railway is urging customers to carefully consider whether their journey is absolutely necessary, as significant disruption is expected on their train services on Saturdays in November and December 2019.
Planned industrial action by members of the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport mean the operator will be running a basic service with some routes not operating at all.
The RMT Union has announced Industrial Action on the following dates:
- Saturday 16 November
- Saturday 23 November
- Saturday 30 November
- Saturday 7 December
- Saturday 14 December
- Saturday 21 December
- Saturday 28 December
West Midlands Railway said it is working very hard to resolve the dispute with the RMT Union and warns passengers dates of the industrial action could change at the last minute, so check your journey again before you travelling.
On the days there will be fewer trains running, some stations will not be served, some services will finish earlier than normal and there will be no additional replacement bus services.
Plan ahead: Passengers are urged to plan ahead, days the action will take place could change at short notice so keep checking your journey before you travel.
Leave more time to travel: Other train companies are due to run a normal service but they are expected to be busier than usual. Don’t aim for the last train home: get to the station early and be prepared to queue.
Consider your route options: You may want to consider travelling on another day or not travelling by rail at all.
Only travel if necessary: The West Midlands Rail network is going to be really busy especially on routes like the Cross City Line so consider if your journey is essential.
Can I get a refund?
West Midlands Railway say under the National Rail Conditions of Travel, if you have purchased a ticket and your train is cancelled or delayed, and you choose not to travel, you can return the unused ticket to the retailer you bought the ticket from and you will be given a full refund with no administration fee being charged. This applies to all tickets including those which are usually non-refundable.
If your journey is delayed by 15 minutes or more, you’re entitled to compensation under their Delay Repay scheme. Please keep a hold of your ticket and submit your claim within 28 days. www.westmidlandsrailway.co.uk/about-us/delay-repay
Checking your journey
The National Rail journey planners will show services that are operating a few days before the industrial action. ojp.nationalrail.co.uk/service/planjourney/search
Check the West Midlands Railway website for up to date information www.westmidlandsrailway.co.uk
For more information visit www.westmidlandsrailway.co.uk/industrialaction