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Rail bosses face prospect of summer of strikes as RMT members take to picket lines

THREE rail companies face the prospect of a summer of Sunday strikes as RMT members take to picket lines in disputes over safety, pensions and pay.

At Hull Trains, workers incensed by the company’s unilateral decision to close its final-salary pension scheme will restart an overtime and rest day working ban on Monday, alongside strikes every Sunday through August — 8, 15, 22 and 29.

The action was called after attempts to resolve the dispute through conciliation service Acas failed.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: “This is a well-funded [pension] scheme with a healthy valuation report and there is absolutely no need for the company to take this drastic step of closing it down.

“RMT remains available for talks but the action from Monday onwards is back on.”

Senior conductors and train managers East Midlands Railway (EMR) will strike every Sunday from August 8 to the end of September in a dispute over the company’s insistence that there be only one guard aboard trains made up of multiple units, without access between them.

EMR boss Will Rogers accused the union of damaging the company’s ability to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic and pointed to improvements in pay and conditions.

Mr Lynch, emphasising that the dispute was about safety, said: “RMT believes that the Class 360 method of working that the company has imposed is not safe and that a second safety-critical person, preferably a train manager, should be in each portion of the multiunit trains.”

On Abellio ScotRail, a long-running dispute over pay parity will see further Sunday strike action by ticket collectors and conductors.

The Scottish government has effectively taken over control of the ScotRail franchise, but insists that there is no new money available to settle the dispute. It has ignored RMT’s calls for a summit meeting.

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