RAIL unions have already come out fighting over proposals to potentially reduce staffing on East Lancashire’s train services.

The Lancashire Telegraph reported this week how the northern rail franchise beyond February 2016, for the East Lancashire and Clitheroe to Manchester lines, is now up for grabs.

But the RMT rail union is dismayed at proposals to move towards ‘driver-only operation’, for services where there are currently drivers and guards, as part of the whole franchise process. Government officials say this would enable on-board staff to concentrate more on customer service.

But Mick Cash, the RMT’s acting general secretary, believes the exercise will ‘slash jobs, destroy safety and axe ticket offices’.