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The Lakes Line runs from Oxenholme station on the West Coast Main Line through the ancient market town of Kendal, and the villages of Burneside and Staveley, to the bustling town of Windermere, poised above England’s longest lake.
RMT strike action
After so many strikes by conductor guards there is optimism at the moment. On 6th February, Northern released this statement:
RMT announces suspension of strikes and agrees to enter further talks
RMT has agreed to suspend its strike action and recommence talks about the future role of the conductor. This follows positive discussions between RMT and Northern - brokered by ACAS Chair, Sir Brendan Barber.
David Brown, Managing Director, Northern said: “We warmly welcome RMT’s decision to suspend its strike action and recommence talks about what the future role of the conductor looks like.
"We have been very clear in these discussions that there will be a conductor on all our trains now and into the future. We are looking forward to further positive talks with RMT about operational models moving ahead so that we can resolve their despite and bring it to an end.
"The suspension of the RMT strikes is good news for customers and businesses across the North."
Changing a strike timetable back to a normal timetable is a very complex task. It is unfortunately too late for Northern to reintroduce a full timetable in time for this Saturday (Feb 9). We will run about 700 services with few services running after 5pm.
We advise customers to check before they travel. From Saturday Feb 16, we are pleased to confirm that we will be running a full Saturday timetable.
For balance, here is the RMT statement:
RMT suspends Northern strike action after major ACAS talks breakthrough ends two years of deadlock
RAIL UNION RMT said today that substantial progress in talks through the offices of ACAS has allowed the union’s executive to suspend the on-going programme of strike action on Northern Rail over the retention and the role of the guard on their trains.
Through the talks process the company have now offered a guarantee of a conductor on all trains, including the new fleet, for the duration of the current franchise. The guarantee is supported by the Department for Transport.
Further talks, involving all stakeholders, will now seek further agreement on operational models moving forwards.
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:
“Firstly I want to pay tribute to RMT’s members on Northern Rail whose resilience and determination though two years and 47 days of action has been the foundation on which today’s major breakthrough has been based. They are an absolute credit to both this union and the wider movement.
“I also want to thank the travelling public for their extraordinary support and both Andy Burnham and Steve Rotheram for their efforts that have been important in allowing us to break the deadlock today.
“Today’s offer of a guarantee of a conductor on all services throughout the duration of the franchise, including the new fleet, is the substantial progress we have been pushing for and has allowed RMT’s executive to take the decision to suspend the current action and allow for further talks to now take place with all stakeholders around the operational details.”
“The union will make further statements in due course.”
After the January meeting the Group wrote to both David Brown, MD at Northern, and Mick Cash of the RMT urging the two sides to resume talks. Mick Cash replied quickly with an email saying "Thanks for your email which is receiving my attention", and David Brown replied later setting out Northern's position and its willingness to engage in further talks or have ACAS conduct an independent enquiry.
LLRUG hopes the talks bring a permanent end to the dispute.
The talks continue, and both sides have agreed not to comment publicly.
Updated 23rd April 2019