Southern rail
It is due to be the latest in a string of strikes in recent months Carl Court/ Getty Images

The RMT rail union has confirmed the next strike dates for guards and drivers in a long-running dispute over safety.

Workers from Southern, Merseyrail and Arriva Rail North will be striking on Saturday 8 April.

Multiple strikes have already taken place in recent months and the new proposed date is aimed at allowing talks to take place with the three train companies.

Workers will strike for 24 hours between 12.01am and 11.59pm on 8 April.

The date coincides ‎with the Grand National at Aintree, traditionally one of the busiest days of the year for Merseyrail.

Mick Cash, RMT general secretary, said: "RMT members on Southern rail have been fighting for safety and access to rail services for nearly a year now and it is time for the company to get out of the bunker and to start making some progress.

"There is no reason for Southern/GTR to drag their heels and RMT is prepared to meet on 4 April as they have requested .

"We now have plenty of breathing space to get talks underway and we would urge the company to seize the opportunity that our decision today has opened up for both parties and the union would prefer for the talks to happen sooner rather than later."

"This dispute, and the industrial action we have announced today, were entirely preventable if the company had listened to the unions deep-seated safety concerns, had taken them seriously, stuck to their earlier commitments and had put passenger safety before profit."

Speaking about Arriva North, he added: "The company's intransigence has forced our hand and given us to option but to announce this latest phase of industrial action.

"The disruption to services will be entirely down to Arriva Rail North reneging on their earlier commitments. The union remains available for genuine and meaningful talks and we await a response from the company to that offer."

aSouthern spokesman said: "We have received no official confirmation from the RMT and will review our response when we do."