RAIL unions blamed the government yesterday for blocking a settlement of the long-running Southern dispute as a weekend of fresh strikes was announced across three networks.
RMT members will begin a three-day strike on Arriva Rail North today, while Merseyrail is set for industrial action today and Monday.
Both firms aim to make their new trains driver-only operated.
Southern trains will be hit by a 24-hour stoppage on Monday, more than a year after the start of the dispute over driver-only operation.
The beleaguered rail franchise also has to contend with an overtime ban by drivers in the Aslef union who say that “trust and goodwill” towards Southern has broken down.
RMT general secretary Mick Cash accused Transport Secretary Chris Grayling of blocking a settlement of the Southern dispute.
He said: “Even the government-backed Gibb report into Southern Rail admitted that the Secretary of State is determining the direction of this dispute.
“The reason this dispute is now entering its 15th month is because the government has backed the employer. MPs now need to ask when the government is going to back a fair settlement instead.”
A Southern spokesman said: “We don’t expect the RMT union’s strike to have any effect on our service on Monday and we plan to run the amended timetable that’s in place during Aslef’s driver overtime ban.”