Greater Manchester train users were led to believe that the upcoming rail strike had been cancelled – only to have their hopes dashed.
This occurred after posters put up on station platforms throughout the district incorrectly proclaimed that the scheduled walkout was not going ahead.
The images, a welcome sight for commuters, were displayed as people braced themselves for a network-wide shutdown of services on March 13.
National Rail has since confirmed that the ‘entire network will be affected’ still and that they ‘are currently working to keep it to a minimum’.
— RMT (@RMTunion) 3 March 2017
When questioned about the misleading posters being circulated, Northern Rail replied: “For our customer communications, we cover every eventuality.
“This allows us to get our information out as quickly as possible. The poster in question was part of our customer communications packs and it was displayed incorrectly.”
RMT, the rail union behind the strike, claims that network operators deliberately intended to mislead commuters into believing the strike had been cancelled.
General Secretary, Mike Cash, has even accused Northern Rail of an ‘outrageous campaign of dirty tricks’.
He explained: “This is a desperate move by a company that is prepared to resort to lies and dirty tricks to try and undermine our action in the guard’s safety dispute.
“It has backfired spectacularly as all it has done is reinforce the anger and determination of our members to defend safety-critical jobs and the guarantee of a guard on Northern Rail trains.”
Mr Cash continued: “Instead of pulling pathetic stunts like this the company should be round the table with the union negotiating a solution that gives the public the guard guarantee they want and which allows us to move on knowing that safety comes before profits.”
The one-day strike was approved after 93.5% of union members voted in opposition to Northern Rail’s ‘modernisation proposals’.
The plans include the introduction of new guard-less trains next year.
It is feared that this measure will have a detrimental effect on passenger safety.