Posted: Mon 13th Mar 2017

Merseyrail walkout: Services hit further as drivers refuse to cross picket lines, no trains from Chester to Hooton.

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Monday, Mar 13th, 2017

Update: ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

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Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union at Merseyrail have walk out for 24 hours in a row over the role of conductors. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Merseyrail train drivers, who are not part of the industrial action taking place today, have decided not to cross RMT picket lines.
It means no trains will run on the Ellesmere Port, Hunts Cross and Kirkby lines. Click here for full timetables ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

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Merseyrail want to introduce new state-of-the art trains, the RMT union, who represent many Merseyrail guards, has voted for strike action as the new fleet will be driver-controlled operation. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

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Management say they want a negotiated solution and deny jobs will be lost. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Merseyrail sought an injunction against the dispute, it rejected by the High Court in London. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​


Merseyrail says it cannot afford to keep guards on a new fleet of with driver-only trainsThe new trains which are due to be in place by 2020, will have a sliding step which extends out to cut out the gap between the train and the platform. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Members of the RMT union, which represents rail staff, protested over fears safety could be compromised.
the RMT say Merseyrail profits would pay for keeping guards almost three times over new research shows. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

New research by the RMT shows that dividends paid out by Merseryrail are up to £14million a year, almost three times the cost of keeping guards. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

They say that in 2014 the revenue income of Merseyrail was £51 million, and Merseyrail paid out a dividend not far short of £14 million meaning a quarter of passenger fares ending up in the pockets of Merseyrails owners, Serco and Dutch state owned Abellio. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

RMT believes that instead of getting rid of Guards Merseyrail should forsake some of its dividends to pay keep the guards and if it does not do so voluntarily then Merseytravel should renegotiate its contract with Merseyrail. If Merseyrail won’t cooperate then, when their contract expires in 2028, any new contract should ensure that revenues are retained to keep the guards – this is easily achievable as the new trains are to be brought through a 30 year long financing deal. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Mick Cash RMT General Secretary said;

These figures show that up to a quarter of fare revenue is being sucked out of Merseyrail to pay for dividends of around £14m a year. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

That is frankly obscene under any circumstances but the fact that around £14m a year is being allowed to leak out of Meresyrail while at the same time senior Liverpool politicians are pleading poverty as an excuse to get rid of guards will be utterly unacceptable for passengers and council tax payers. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

And as Merseyrail is part owned by the Dutch state railway it is a case of ‎Merseyside 0 Holland £14m. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Merseyrail can easily afford to cough up and pay to keep our guards and if they don’t then Liverpool’s politicians should renegotiate Merseyrail’s contract. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

If Merseyrail don’t agree to new terms now, then the 30 year financing of the new trains easily allows enough scope for a new Merseyrail contract to ensure that revenues are retained to keep our guards. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

At the very least as we approach the elections in May Liverpool politicians should be calling for a review of the financing options. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

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