HAVING looked to be set to come to an end last month, rail strikes are now set to continue into the new year.

Northern Rail services from Warrington will be hit by industrial action for a 43rd day tomorrow, with the RMT accusing the operator of ‘refusing to engage in serious and meaningful talks’ in order to bring strikes to an end.

Hopes were raised towards the end of 2018 that strike action could soon be over, with the dispute concerning the removal of train guards on the railways.

But on the first weekend of 2019, disruption to services will continue.

The RMT has called out Northern Rail’s recent announcement of £33.7million profits – with the German state-owned company having received £31m in payments from the taxpayer since spring 2016 – as well as fare increases at the beginning of the new year.

General secretary Mick Cash said: “RMT Northern Rail members will be striking again tomorrow in the long-running fight to put public safety before private profit as the company jack up their fares and refuse to lift the axe from above the heads of their safety critical guards.

“The RMT continues to make every effort to get serious and meaningful talks going with Northern Rail, but the company would prefer to milk the fare increase for every penny they can while ignoring the safety concerns of their staff and the public alike.

“The RMT will not be party to the dilution of the safety culture on Northern Rail trains in a drive to prop up Deutsche Bahn's profits.

“It is nothing short of a scandal that Northern Rail passengers are paying some of the highest fares in Europe, travelling on unreliable and rammed out trains to subsidise the domestic operations of the German parent company.

“That is why our members will be standing solid again tomorrow for the 43rd day in support of a safe and accessible railway for all.

“We thank the public for their support and understanding throughout this dispute over rail safety and access, and the union remains ready for genuine and serious talks.”