Commuters face more rail strikes in dispute

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A FRESH wave of rail strikes will be launched today over ongoing disputes about driverless trains.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) at Southern – which runs services between Portsmouth and London and along the south coast – Merseyrail and Arriva Rail North will walk out today and on Monday, while Merseyrail workers will also go on strike on Sunday.

The Southern dispute started more than 16 months ago, with the RMT taking more than 30 days of strike action.

RMT members from the newly-formed South Western Railway are to be balloted for strikes, which could affect services from Portsmouth to London Waterloo.

However, a spokesman for South Western Railway believes that the dispute is ‘unnecessary’.

He said: ‘We have made it perfectly clear that we plan to retain a second person on our services as we know that our passengers value the assurance and assistance a second member of on-board staff provides.

‘During our franchise we will increase the numbers of drivers and guards. We look forward to talking with our teams and the trade unions.

‘In fact, we already have a meeting in the diary with the RMT.’