Passengers facing two days of strikes on trains from Corby, Kettering and Wellingborough

Operator East Midlands Railways plans to run half its usual services on Friday and Saturday

Wednesday, 1st December 2021, 8:25 am
Updated Wednesday, 1st December 2021, 8:26 am
Passengers face major disruption to East Midlands Railway as train managers and conductors strike on Friday and Saturday

East Midlands Railway says it will run half its usual Friday and Saturday service from Corby, Kettering and Wellingborough if two days of strike action goes ahead this week.

Rail, Maritime and Transport union members will walk out in protest over safety concerns and contract issues at one minute past midnight on Friday morning affecting services between London and the Midlands.

Both sides hope action will be avoided after last-minute talks but the train operator has laid out a contingency timetable with just one train an hour to and from Corby and Wellingborough and three an hour from Kettering on Friday (December 3) and Saturday.

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A spokesman said: "We remain in discussions with the RMT and are optimistic that a resolution will be reached later this week.

"If this happens, we will do everything we can to reinstate our advertised timetable ahead of December 3.

"Our contingency arrangements mean we are still able to run a significant proportion of our routes and services but Intercity services will be reduced to one train per hour to Nottingham and one train per hour to Sheffield while EMR Connect services will be reduced to one train per hour.

"Trains are expected to be busier than usual as a result.

"If you do not wish to travel or have the option of working from home you can claim a refund on your existing ticket at the place of purchase."

This week's strike action by train managers and senior conductors is part of a long-running dispute which affected services on eight successive Sundays.

Train managers voted for industrial action over what the union claims is East Midlands Railway imposing new working arrangements on Class 360 trains that the union branded 'unsafe' because on-board staff are unable to walk between four-car units coupled together to form services of up to 12 carriages.

Senior Conductors' dispute with the company is over pay, conditions and contract issues.

General Secretary, Mick Lynch, said: “RMT has been left with no choice but to put strike action back on East Midlands Railway for our Train Managers and Senior Conductors.

“It is astonishing that after weeks of negotiations, during which in good faith we suspended industrial action and believed progress was being made, the company has failed to make offers in writing to bring these disputes to a close.

“The strike action will send management a clear message that their utter contempt for the negotiations and their hard-working staff is totally unacceptable."