Posted: Thu 22nd Jun 2017

Merseyrail workers to hold strike action on July 8, 10 and 23

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Thursday, Jun 22nd, 2017

Merseyrail drivers and guards are set to take more industrial action union bosses have confirmed.

Members of the RMT union will walk out on July 8, 10 and 23, in a dispute over on-board staffing arrangements on new trains.

The last proposed day of strike action, July 23 coincides with The Open Championship when thousands of golf fans will descend on Royal Birkdale Golf Club in Southport, many by train.

Drivers, not guards, will be responsible for opening and closing doors on a fleet of new trains which will enter service in 2020.

Merseyrail say the new trains will have some of the most advanced safety features seen in the UK, they include sliding steps which extend 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 their research has shown.

RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:

It is disgraceful that Merseyrail continue to refuse all reasonable attempts by the union to settle this dispute .

Merseyrail have repeatedly kicked all conciliatory approaches by RMT negotiators back in our faces and made it crystal clear that all that they are interested in is the union signing a surrender document which gives them a free hand to rip apart the safety culture on the railway.

It is that cynical and hostile stance from Merseyrail which has left us with no option but to put on this further round of strike action.

RMT recognises the severe impact that the action will have but we are dealing with an employer that refuses to listen or engage with the union on the critical issue of safe rail operation and we ask the public to understand that we have no option but to take this high-profile action to force the company back to the negotiating table.

There is ample time between now and July 8th for genuine talks to take place and for a safe and sustainable deal that protects the future safety across Merseyrail services to be put in place.

The company should take up that offer of further talks as a matter of urgency.

Merseyrail are completely ignoring the clear wishes of their own passengers, who overwhelmingly oppose the idea of Driver Only Operated trains on their network.

That pig-headed attitude has forced the union’s hand and the idea that we would compromise on the fundamental issue of rail safety is absurd. The ball is now firmly in Merseyrail’s court.

Merseyrail are yet to comment.

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