YEP Letters: March 14

A Northern Rail train.
A Northern Rail train.
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Check out today’s YEP letters

Commuters travelling to and from Leeds railway stations faced disruption yesterday as staff on Northern services voted to take industrial action. Members of the RMT union went on strike in response to the operator’s proposals to make trains driver-only operated. Northern Rail ran a reduced timetable and 300 rail replacement buses. Here’s how readers reacted to the strike on Facebook..

Bob Wilson, via Facebook

It’s not just a matter of who closes the doors it’s who’s there to help out in emergencies.

The drivers can’t if they are up front in the cab. It’s just a cost cutting exercise by the money grabbing rail companies. Of course jobs will be lost. I’m sure many passengers will feel more secure with a guard on the train, especially at night.

I for one give my backing to the train staff, even though I’ve been inconvenienced.

Mick Rotherham

Of course jobs will be lost as managers justify profits at the cost of passengers left on platforms as the drivers platform cams fail to see people through rain and fog - it’s a bit more complex than looking in a mirror. Of course safety will suffer as there is no-one available to deal with emergencies and witness, challenge and report antisocial behaviour apart from other passengers. The union members voted to strike on valid concerns.

Richard Lodge

Perhaps if the “wonderful” train operators hadn’t ground down the service in the north so far to maximise their investor return/minimise government subsidy we wouldn’t be in this situation in the first place.

Chris Hough

I WOULD prefer a train with a visible presence and not a chap cocooned in a cab. Incidently Sir Brian Souter founder and head of Stagecoach has said he will always have a guard on his trains and he is far from being an industrial dinosaur.

Phil Hanson

Technology has moved on, alas railway workers are hanging on when they need to move on. Progress, don’t hold those that pay your wages to ransom over a lost cause.

Nigel Bywater

Jobs will not be lost, because an extra person is needed on most trains. They carry a heavy ramp for wheelchair users to get on and off. This strike is because Government are interfering in the detail of train contracts. Government should leave train companies to run their business. Northern trains need guards.

Chris Smith

I FOR one think it should have at least two people on a train. Only reason they want to get rid of people is to give the bosses a bigger pay rise or bonus.

David Townend

Can you go to prison for not opening or closing a lift door properly? We have some of the busiest trains in the country, it’s not an easy task. Believe me train drivers don’t want to do it, this is about safety pure and simple.

Lesley Kidd

I think I fell asleep and woke up in the 70s. What is with all of the strikes?

Brian Foster

It’s the unions all over again, thought this government was against strikes.

Kelly Hughes

Guards fighting for your safety.... losing a day’s pay to keep the trains safe.

John Cunningham

Just had to drive my son to Leeds City College due to the train from Woodlesford to Leeds being affected by the strike, hope it is over soon.

Liz Noli-Roberts

Keep the guards. So many assaults happening on the trains now - number of incidents would double/triple without guards onboard.

Caz Stewart

Definitely agree with the strike. Yes it’s a pain, but it’s our safety. And guards are an essential part of train travel. I still think buses should have conductors.

Chris Andrews

It’s good to know the strikers have our safety in mind.

Yvonne Capitano

Keep the guards. Not only for access/egress safety and assistance but added benefits of unmanned stations being regularly “seen” and having someone to go to on board both for passenger and the driver safety.

Jean Hagan

Guards should definitely be kept, safety is more important than cost cutting which is only GREED.

Trish Packham

Guards are very essential on trains for the public and should stay. This is all about money not safety.

Eileen Johnson

Unfortunately it seems the only way to get people to listen - reflective of the take for granted apathy that some people exhibit, even when their safety is at risk.

Claire Golding

What about disabled people using trains? Wheelchair access - are the drivers going to help them?

Irene Westwood

This is why they can’t afford guards. As a trainee driver you’ll earn around £24,000 when you start training and it’ll increase to around £40,000 during training. Once you’ve built up some experience and are fully qualified you can earn between £47,000 and £68,000. You’ll also benefit from free or reduced price train travel.

Lizzy Kitch

Solidarity with striking workers. Keep the guard on the train!

Joan Sterland

It’s a no brainer. KEEP the guards!

Sue in Yorkshire, via website

If any of you who critise the rail unions for striking had ever been in a train crash when the guard was needed badly then you don’t know what you are talking about.

If there had been no guard on the train when I was in a train crash we the passengers would have been in a sorry and worse state than we were as the driver of the train couldn’t do anything for the passengers. He was in too much shock.

Fred Chukkawakka, via website

Disgusting. Unions are not blameless for the misery commuters experience in Leeds, the poor transport service in Leeds, and the cost of transport becoming more expensive than cabs or owning a car.

Time has come to make transport workers essential public sector employees who are unable to strike.

It is also time unions accept their responsibility for causing the rise in fares and the disruption caused.

Hopefully Leeds commuters will not be hit with another fare rise and even worsening service.

Finally the time has come West Yorkshire Combined Authority, City of Leeds, and WY Metro begin saying no to the unions and First by protecting the commuters’ best interest.

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YEP Letters: December 15