Rail depot staff in Leeds and Newcastle to stage strike

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Railway workers at two depots are to go on strike on Wednesday and stage an overtime ban in protest at plans to re-grade their jobs.

The staff at Neville Hill depot in Leeds and Heaton in Newcastle will stop work at 18:59 GMT for 48 hours.

The National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) said its maintenance driver members were in dispute with Northern Rail.

Northern Rail said there would be "minimal disruption to train services".

In a statement the union said the dispute was "over a re-grading exercise which has failed to recognise the complex and demanding role of this key group of staff and which has ignored the skills and hard work that they bring to the company".

The maintenance depot rail drivers have also been instructed by the union not to work any overtime from Wednesday evening "until further notice".

Adrian Thompson, HR Director for Northern Rail said: "This is not a dispute of our making. The RMT is yet again making unrealistic and unsubstantiated demands without any reasoning.

"We have a robust contingency plan in place so there will be minimal disruption, if any, to our customers' normal train service, a service we work hard to deliver for them."

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