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Strikes called on region's rail lines

By Lucy Todman | Shrewsbury | News | Published:

Trains operating between Shrewsbury and Wolverhampton may be cancelled each Saturday until the New Year as a result of strike action.

Thousands of rail users and businesses will be affected by the action which will see up to two out of three trains an hour being cancelled. A reduced service between Wolverhampton and Birmingham New Street will be in operation.

The RMT announced yesterday (WEDS) that strike action on West Midlands Trains regarding Driver Only Operation will go ahead. Trains run by other operators will be unaffected.

The strike action is set to begin this Saturday and West Midlands Trains senior conductor, senior conductor instructor and train driver members are instructed to not to book on for any further shifts on November 23, November 30, December 7, December 14, December 21 and December 28.

The train company has been said to be continuing to resist calls for the safest possible means of operation.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “RMT strike action on West Midlands Trains goes ahead as planned from this Saturday in the face of the company’s refusal to pull back from their threat to bulldoze through Driver Only Operation and their attack on the safety critical role of the guard at the platform/train interface.

“The inevitable and serious disruption to services will be wholly down to the company and their refusal to agree to the safest possible means of operation.

“We will not allow the drive for profit to override the core issue of safe and accessible services for all on West Midlands Trains and we stand firm on that very basic principle. We will never compromise on the issues of passenger safety and accessibility.

“The union remains available for talks.”

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A West Midlands Railway spokesperson said: “We are very disappointed that industrial action by the RMT is set to go ahead on Saturday.

"A strike benefits nobody and will inconvenience thousands of rail users and local businesses in Shropshire and across the network.

“The action is unnecessary and we remain determined to find a way of resolving the dispute with the minimum disruption and inconvenience for our passengers.

"We will run a reduced service on Saturday using managers with guard competency. Special timetables will be in place to serve as many passengers as we can but unfortunately not every station can be accommodated.”

Passengers are being urged to re-check their journey on Fridays to check how the journey will be affected. Some stations will not be served at all. Should industrial action take place, passengers with tickets for travel on Saturday will be able to use them on Friday or Sunday instead, or apply for a full refund from the place they bought their ticket.

Lucy Todman

By Lucy Todman
@shroptod

Senior reporter for the Shropshire Star and Shrewsbury Chronicle based in Shrewsbury.

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