Anyone who has tried to travel on Northern Rail from Menston and Guiseley on a Saturday will be aware of the 24-hour strike action that has been taking place over the past two years, as part of rail union RMT’s campaign to prevent ‘Driver Only’ trains.

Now, after 47 days of strike action, the RMT has secured agreement by Northern Rail to keep a guard on every train until the company’s franchise ends in 2025.

This agreement has been reached with Arriva Rail North, with the support of the Department for Transport, and is likely to involve some additional government funding to the train operator.

Elliot Nathan, who along with other Otley Labour Party members has travelled to Leeds station to support the RMT Saturday strike action, was delighted with the agreement.

“Working people have a limited influence in the workplace as individuals but when they come together and organise themselves, they can achieve a a great deal together. This has been perfectly demonstrated by the tremendous victory of the RMT union in their dispute with Northern Rail.” 

Elliot Nathan, Labour candidate for Leeds City Council

The RMT strike action was sparked when Northern Rail signed a contract with the Department for Transport which meant at least 50% of their trains would no longer have a guard or conductor – who are vital to ensure passenger safety and provide assistance. 

“This would have seen 1,200 jobs cut and was driven by Northern Rail’s desire to increase its profits.  This was dressed up as ‘modernisation’ but it clearly shows that private rail operators put profit before safety. That’s why a Labour government has pledged to take the railways into public ownership when elected” said Elliot.

Find out more about Labour’s plans for the future of the railways at or read the short article here on our website.