Rail strike ballot over substitute holidays

RAIL workers are to be balloted for strike action in a dispute over Christmas pay.

The Rail Maritime and Transport union said conductors at Northern Trains - which operates across northern England - would vote in the next few weeks on whether to take action. The result is due on 20 December.

Officials said the union had put forward a "perfectly reasonable proposal" that staff should be paid the "appropriate rate" for working additional public holidays created as Christmas falls on a weekend this year.

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RMT general secretary Bob Crow said: "Everyone in the country knows that Monday 27 and Tuesday, 28 December are classed as substitute public holidays and in negotiations with Northern Rail, RMT has demanded that all conductors should receive double time for working on these dates."