Train companies to be compensated for guards’ strike

The
UK’s rail authority will compensate train firms by up to £10m if a series of
planned strikes by guards start on Friday, it has been revealed.

BBC
online reports that the Strategic Rail Authority (SRA) says three 24-hour
walkouts planned over the next few weeks were not justified and that train
companies should not suffer financially because of them.

A
spokesman for the SRA said the authority would not let the train companies take
a financial hit because it is not within their power to stop the action. He
said the safety process the strike centres on is already under way and striking
will not change the outcome.

However
unions are angry at the move. Bob Crow, general secretary of the Rail Maritime
and Transport (RMT), said: "The cash the Government is throwing at these
all but bankrupt operators would be better spent on improving the
railways."

The
union has called for strike action over guards’ safety roles after many train
companies switched the responsibility for safety from guards to drivers.

Talks
to avert the strikes, which threaten to disrupt rail services across the
country, will be held on Wednesday.

By Quentin Reade

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