Rail staff from three rail firms have begun 24-hour strikes in a dispute over the future role of guards on trains in the UK.

The strike by workers on Southern rail is the 30th day of industrial action in the ongoing dispute over plans to make the trains driver-only-operated (DOO), which could reduce the need for guards on the services.

Today’s strikes by guards and drivers working for Merseyrail and Northern rail are over similar DOO proposals on those services.

Rail workers and unions argue that the move to DOO trains presents a safety risk to passengers, and will ultimately be used by management to reduce staff numbers and bring costs down. However, management at all three rail firms say they want a negotiated solution to the issue and the move will not result in job losses.

Merseyrail says it will run a reduced service, with train run every 30 minutes on most, but not all, lines between 07:00 and 19:00, instead of every 15 minutes. There are also no trains running on the Ellesmere Port, Kirkby and Hunts Cross lines.

Northern says it is running 40% of its normal services on its busiest routes between 07:00 and 19:00 and it will lay on 300 rail replacement bus services.

Southern has said a number of services will not run, including the budy routes between Clapham and Milton Keynes, and London and Brighton.

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