Leeds United fans urged to plan ahead of rail strike

By Sam Brooksbank

Football fans have been encouraged to re-plan their journeys on Saturday 8th April due to a planned strike by Northern Rail.

Leeds United are at home to Preston on the day, where as Huddersfield Town and Bradford City are away at Nottingham Forest and Bury respectively, which are also on the Northern Rail network.

Many football fans use the rail network as a form of travel to matches and they have been urged to use different forms of transport in order to watch their teams play as it comes to the very important end of the season.

This will be the second strike within a month after members of the RMT union took part in a 24-hour walkout on the 13thMarch over new proposals made by Northern Rail.

It meant that more than 1,000 rail services were cancelled and more than 300 rail replacement bus services had to be put in place.  Only 40 per cent of the entire network ran on the day, with no trains running before 7am and none running after 6pm.

First Buses who provide a football service on Leeds United match days, have said that the service will be running as normal.

But a spokesperson for First Bus said: “It is unlikely that we will be operating any rail replacements.”

The strike action is over new proposals to make the rail network “driver operated only” and to replace the conductors with “passenger assistants”, who will be able to sell tickets and talk to commuters but not be able to close the doors. That will be done by the drivers only, and the RMT believe this will make travelling unsafe.

A spokesperson for Northern Rail said: “We have been clear that we want RMT, along with our people, our customers and stakeholders to play a role in bringing our modernisation plans to life. We want to work with everyone on how we modernise the way we provide customer services and continue to run safe and reliable railway.”

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “This dispute and industrial action we have announced, were entirely preventable if the company had listened to the unions deep-seated safety concerns, had taken them seriously, stuck to their earlier commitments and had put passenger safety before profit.”

He added: “The union remains available for genuine and meaningful talks and we await a response from the company to that offer.”

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