Elliot Nathan who will be standing as the local Labour candidate in the city council elections next May, joined members of RMT, the rail workers union, in Leeds last Saturday along with other Otley residents. The RMT strike is to protest at Northern Rail’s plans to cut guards from trains.

Northern Rail passengers currently benefit from a train guard on every train, but the train company plans to introduce driver-only trains on at least half of its services. The RMT union is campaigning against these cuts which they say will compromise passenger safety.

“Guards are trained to help protect the safety of the train and its passengers, including what to do in case of technical failures, fire, derailment, evacuation or sudden driver illness. They provide advice and assistance to all passengers, and can help disabled and elderly passengers to get on and off trains at stations in our area without platform staff, like Menston and Guiseley. They also deter anti-social behaviour on trains.”

Elliot Nathan, Labour candidate

Elliot is urging Otley and Yeadon residents who are likely to use Northern train services to support the RMT ‘Keep The Guard on the Train – Keep the Train Safe’ campaign, and is asking train users to sign the official petition calling on the UK government and parliament to make it legal to have a second safety critical person on trains.

“Without a train guard service, anyone who needs assistance to get on or off a train at an unstaffed station has to telephone 24 hours ahead. This makes travel far more complicated and stressful for for people who are frail or have mobility problems. And a train without a guard reduces safety for all passengers” said Elliot.

“Our Labour MP, Alex Sobel, is supporting the RMT campaign and I am urging everyone in our area who who uses Northern train services to do the same and sign the petition.” RMT workers are continuing their Saturday strike action throughout December in protest at Northern’s plans to cut guard safety.

There is more information about the petition to parliament at www.rmt.org.uk/campaigns/rail/keep-your-guard-guarantee-northern-rail/.