A RAIL workers’ union reported its TransPennine Express (TPE) conductor members were “standing firm and united” in the first of a series of strikes.

The Rail, Maritime and Transport Union (RMT) said its conductors working for TPE are, “fighting for pay justice”.

Today saw the first of a series of weekly strikes over what the union claim is “pay discrimination” for conductors.

Read more: Rail operator limits service amid strike by conductors over pay

General Secretary Mick Lynch said: “Reports from the ground show that RMT members are solidly supporting the action on TPE this morning, in what is a fight for basic pay justice. 

“Our members refuse to be treated unfairly and will be continuing with industrial action until the pay discrimination is dealt with.

“The company needs to wake up to that fact and we hope today’s action will shake them out of their slumber. 

“The union remains available for talks.”

Weekly strikes were recently announced by the RMT over the pay rates for its TPE conductor members.

It led to the company operating a reduced Sunday service due to conductor shortages.

The RMT say that despite working throughout the Covid crisis and having a two-year pay freeze enforced on them, TPE conductors requested an increase in pay for working on their days off and on Sundays.

But the union said the gap in what conductors are paid for working these days, and what other traincrew members receive for the same days has seen a significant increase, with the workers feeling aggrieved at the “unfairness”.

RMT TPE conductor members are instructed not to book on for any shifts that begin between 00.01 hours until 23.59 hours on Sundays February 13, 20, 27 and March 6.

Additionally, the RMT has instructed TPE conductor members not to work any rostered overtime and withdraw from the electronic scanning of tickets from tomorrow (Monday February 14), “until further notice”.

Mr Lynch said: “TPE conductors who kept the trains running throughout the pandemic have been left with no choice but to take strike action after being given a flat ‘no’ to their reasonable request to close the pay gap between themselves and other TPE workers by bosses who have mostly been at home throughout the Covid crisis.

“To add insult to injury conductors on Northern Trains working alongside TPE conductors have reached agreement for a small payment of 2p for a new method of checking tickets.

“Meanwhile, TPE conductors have modestly asked for and been refused the same small payment for doing these checks.”

He added: “Our members refuse to be treated unfairly and will be continuing with industrial action until the pay discrimination is dealt with.

“The union remains available for talks.”

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