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Frequently Asked Questions

Why is there a strike?

We want to talk about modernising with RMT, guaranteeing jobs and pay for our 1,300 conductors for at least the next seven years, until the end of our franchise. The more strike action continues the harder it is for Northern to give long-term assurances and commitments.

Our plans will see staff more visible and available than ever before on trains and at stations. We want to keep a second person on many of our services and, at some locations, we may choose to staff the station to give better customer support. We are investing in people and systems to make the railway even safer; for example, we now have 55 Travel Safe Officers who work on trains and at stations to help prevent and tackle anti-social behaviour.

Safety is a top priority. On Driver Controlled Operation in particular, Britain’s most senior railway safety inspector says it is a safe way of working, and this way of running trains is in regular use across the network in the UK and abroad. Any changes we want to make to services or our stations are fully risk assessed, widely discussed, and approved in accordance with relevant legislation.

We have a commitment to introduce Driver Controlled Operation on parts of the Northern network. This is why we want to have meaningful talks with RMT to explore future staffing options on trains and stations. In some areas we may choose to staff more stations and in others, it could make sense to have more customer support on trains. These are the important, constructive discussions we want to have with RMT.

Northern has embarked on a programme to modernise its services that will help make the North a better place in which to live and work. By 2020 Northern is committed to:

  • Delivering better journeys with new and updated trains and improved station facilities
  • Better customer service, with more people to help you on your journey than ever before
  • Keeping you safe and secure, with more visible staff on trains and stations – day and night

Our plans include 98 new trains, 243 updated trains and the recruitment of more people from across our business:

  • Our new trains are in production
  • 30 of our upgraded trains are already out on the network, and
  • over 450 new people have joined our team since April 2016

To bring our improvements to life, we are proposing changes to modernise the conductor role to give you a better service. We are clear there will be no job or pay cuts as a result of our proposed changes, however the RMT has entered into dispute with Northern, which has resulted in several days of strike action, so far, during 2017.