Rail union announces strikes over festive pay

STAFF at Northern Rail are to strike on December 27 and 28 in a row over Bank Holiday pay.

The Rail Maritime and Transport (RMT) union yesterday announced that its conductor members at the firm had voted in favour of industrial action in a ballot.

RMT leaders want staff to be paid what they call an "appropriate" rate for working on the 27th and 28th, which are additional public holidays created as a result of Christmas falling on a weekend this year.

The union's general secretary, Bob Crow, said: "The spirit of old Scrooge is alive and well on Northern Rail and our conductor members have shown in this ballot that they will not be treated as second-class citizens."

Northern managing director Ian Bevan said: "We are very disappointed that the RMT is going ahead with strike action when only 361 of 976 conductors voted for a strike."

Mr Bevan also stressed that the firm was willing to hold further talks with the union.

Northern is planning to run a revised timetable from around 9am to 6pm on both strike days.

Routes where trains will be operating in Yorkshire include Leeds-Bradford-Halifax, Leeds-Skipton, Leeds-Ilkley and Leeds-Harrogate-Knaresborough.

For more timetable details, visit the www.northernrail.org website or ring 0845 000 0125.

Northern normally runs about 2,500 services every weekday on a network that links Leeds to cities such as Wakefield, Sheffield, York and Manchester.

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