Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union has announced that employees at Southern Railway, Merseyrail and Northern (Arriva Rail North) will go on strike (again) on 30 May 2017.
In this dispute which has been simmering for over a year, the 24 hour strike will be the 32nd day of industrial action over the dispute over driver-operated-only (DOO) trains.
It is clear that the issue runs deeper than just the lesser amount of staff on the trains (which in itself has other important implications). The staff members have raised concerns, mainly to do with the health and safety afforded to the rail users.
Employers on the other hand are of the view that in light of the efficiency that DOO trains would bring, this proposed modernisation would bring better support to customers.
Who is right? In fact, is there a right answer? If so, when will agreement be found and this battle be brought to a close.
The moral of the story is that employers need to think carefully about how their plans to grow, modernise or develop their business may affect their staff and PR. Whilst most employees may not consider strike action, employers may suffer from recruitment dilemmas, unhappy staff and even drop in levels of business.
Mick Cash, RMT general secretary, added: "That represents a serious safety and accessibility risk and short of the guarantee of a second safety qualified member of staff." Andy Bindon, a director at GTR, said it was "hugely disappointed" with the strike, and added: "The RMT's proposals would mean cancelling trains and reducing service levels to our passengers.