TWO Otley residents have supported a demonstration by the rail workers union.

Mike Blackwell and Elliot Nathan joined members of the RMT at Leeds railway station on Saturday, December 1, in a protest over Northern's plans to cut guards from trains.

The company wants to introduce driver-only trains on at least half of its services - something the union says will compromise passenger safety.

Mr Nathan, who will stand for Labour in the Otley and Yeadon ward at next year's Leeds City Council elections, said: "Guards are trained to help protect the safety of the train and its passengers, including what to do in case of technical failures, fire, derailment, evacuation or sudden driver illness.

"They provide advice and assistance to all passengers, and can help disabled and elderly passengers to get on and off trains at unstaffed stations.

"They also deter anti-social behaviour."

Mr Nathan is urging local residents who use Northern train services to support the RMT's Keep The Guard on the Train – Keep the Train Safe campaign - and to sign a petition at

He added: "Without a train guard service, anyone who needs assistance to get on or off a train at an unstaffed station has to telephone 24 hours ahead.

"This makes travel far more complicated and stressful for people who are frail or have mobility problems. And a train without a guard reduces safety for all passengers."

RMT workers are continuing Saturday strike action throughout December over the issue.