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Rail strike could hit services from Spalding to Lincoln Christmas Market

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A rail strike could disrupt services from Spalding to Lincoln's Christmas market.

The RMT union has said East Midlands Railway (EMR) train managers and senior conductors will strike over safety, pay and conditions on December 3 and 4.

Rail bosses say the dates were chosen to disrupt that weekend's Lincoln Christmas Market - calling the strike threat 'unhelpful'.

Spalding Railway Station.
Spalding Railway Station.

The two dates in question are also when Spalding plans to hold its two-day Christmas event in the town centre.

An EMR spokesman said the company is working through its plans and hopes to update customers next week on any alternative travel arrangements for those days.

In a letter to stakeholders, EMR said it was 'disappointed and surprised' by the strike threat and was preparing its fourth offer to RMT to resolve the dispute.

The letter states: "Threats of such action are particularly unhelpful at a time when talks were reaching a critical stage. They are designed to cause disruption to customers returning to rail travel and will undoubtedly impact businesses who are still struggling with the effects of the pandemic.

"We have noted that the strike dates have been specifically selected to disrupt the Lincoln Christmas Market and we will be working on contingency plans to try and protect key services over the weekend of 3rd and 4th December."

The union accused EMR of showing 'utter contempt' for negotiations.

It says train managers on some trains - not those used on the Spalding line - are asked to work in conditions that it believes are unsafe.

Senior conductors, meanwhile, are in dispute over pay, conditions and contract issues.

RMT General Secretary, Mick Lynch, said: “RMT has been left with no choice but to put strike action back on East Midlands Railway for our Train Managers and Senior Conductors.

“It is astonishing that after weeks of negotiations, during which in good faith we suspended industrial action and believed progress was being made, the company has failed to make offers in writing to bring these disputes to a close.

“The strike action will send management a clear message that their utter contempt for the negotiations and their hard-working staff is totally unacceptable.

“The union remains available for talks in both disputes.”

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