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Merseyrail injunction bid against RMT strike thrown out by High Court

Merseyrail’s bid for an injunction to block RMT’s planned strikes on Monday has been thrown out by the High Court, with the union now confirming that industrial action will still go ahead next week.

In a statement, the operator said that it had put the argument to judges that “because the decision about the design and operation of the trains under drive-only operated (DOO) principles were taken by council leaders and councillors in December 2016, Merseryrail had no choice but to implement these plans”.

“As such, the RMT’s dispute is with Merseytravel and not Merseyrail,” it argued.

But Merseyrail’s appeal was in vain as the High Court ruled that an injunction could not be issued, leading the way for RMT to carry on its proposed strike on Merseyrail services this coming Monday 13 March.

The union’s general secretary, Mick Cash, slammed the operator for trying to sidetrack the planned action and described the ruling as an “important victory”.

“It is frankly ludicrous that Merseyrail have been wasting important time and money on bogus legal challenges this week when they should have been sat round the table with the union negotiating a safe and sustainable settlement to this dispute which gives the travelling public the guarantee of a guard on their trains,” he said. “The strike action goes ahead."

The action has come about as a result of the operator’s decision to move to DOO services, which would take the guard off the train and instead leave the responsibility for opening and closing carriage doors with the driver.

Services on Southern and Northern are also preparing for looming disruption when drivers and guards who are members of RMT take part in the strike on Monday.

Merseyrail revealed this week that it would be running a reduced service as a result of the action, whilst Northern said it would only be able to run around 40% of its usual services – prompting commuters to brace themselves for what will likely be a day of busy services, delayed trains and general disruption.

In response, RMT accused Northern of “winging it” on a “scab timetable”, and instead urged the operator to continue discussions with the union in a hope to bring the dispute to an end.

(Image c. Nick Ansell PA Wire)

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Jerry Alderson   10/03/2017 at 15:27

Merseyrail are piggy in the middle. They have a 25-year concession and are told what to deliver by their client, which will only fund drivers and a partial on-board customer service. Merseyrail will not have funding to employ conductors or OBS on all trains. However, Merseyrail is also the empoyer, so the employee's dispute is with them. Consequently the court has ruled in favour of the union, because it is the only organisation that its members can take industrial action against. Merseyrail has found itself in this dispute through no fault of its own. I think most will agree that the rhetoric from Mick Cash will not help anyone.

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