RMT confirms new phase of strike action on Merseyrail in fight to retain safety-critical Guards.

20 September 2017

A FURTHER PHASE OF STRIKE ACTION BY MEMBERS OF RAIL UNION RMT will go ahead on Merseyrail early next month following the continued point-blank refusal by the company to make any progress whatsoever over the crucial issue at the heart of the on-going dispute – the future of the safety critical role of the guard.

Drivers and guards will take action as follows:
Members will strike between 0001 hours and 2359 hours on Tuesday 3rd October and Thursday 5th October.

The union said that it was angry and frustrated that Mersey Metro Mayor has refused to put pressure on Merseyrail to resolve the dispute.  The company has also refused all efforts by the union to get a serious and meaningful talks process back underway.

RMT’s executive has paid tribute to the Merseyrail members for their rock solid action throughout the on-going dispute and who the highly effective picketing operation on those strike days with has attracted fantastic levels of public support.

This month a Merseyrail guard made the news when she came to the rescue of a six-year-old autistic boy who had become terrified by the loud chanting of football fans on a packed train from Ormskirk to Liverpool Central as they travelled to the Southport Air Show. The boy’s mother said the train guard tried to tell the fans to quieten down, after she saw the boy’s distressed state, however when that failed she invited the family into the train cabin. The mother told the Liverpool Echo that without the guard’s help the boy would have been so distressed that their day would have been ruined.

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 press ahead with a further two‎ days 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.

“RMT is calling for genuine talks to take place around a safe and sustainable deal that protects the future safety across Merseyrail services. 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 remains firmly in Merseyrail’s court.”

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