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RMT to run 24-hour Merseyrail strike on Mad Friday

The RMT union has confirmed plans to hold 24 hours’ worth of strike action across Merseyrail services on 22 December, the Friday before Christmas.

The announcement is the next in a long-running dispute between the union and several operators over pay and driver-only operated (DOO) trains, which resulted in industrial action on five separate franchises last month.

After the strikes the RMT sought a meeting with Steve Rotherham, the mayor of Liverpool Combined Authority, to urge him to intervene the disagreement.

It is the second time the RMT have organised strikes around major public events, with Merseyrail and Northern services in April hampered by the unions Grand National strike.

The union believes trains operated without a second member of staff could raise safety problems for passengers, although evidence from the RSSB points to the contrary.

“If those politicians had taken a positive and proactive stance, like their colleagues in Wales and Scotland, we could move towards a solution to this dispute which puts safety first,” said RMT general secretary Mick Cash.

“The city and regional Labour leaders need to step back immediately from the terms of the resolution to remove all the guards, that they voted for a year ago this week, which lit the fuse in this dispute.”

Andy Heath, Merseyrail’s new managing director, said the strike had been timed for the busiest period of the year, with people attending festive events and shopping but still going to work before the Christmas period fully starts.

“As on previous strike days, we will endeavour to provide as many trains as possible, and timetable details will be disclosed over the next week or so,” Heath commented

“We are keen to see an end to this dispute. At the request of the metro mayor, Merseyrail has agreed to independent conciliation with the RMT, with no pre-conditions.”

Top image: Nick Ansell PA Wire

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Jerry Alderson   08/12/2017 at 14:59

No reference in the article to the other TOCs that the RMT is in dispute with over DCO+0 / DCO+1 operation. Admittedly Mersey travel is move controversial as it is the replacement of driver + conductor with DCO+0, whereas the other disputes are abut DCO+1. I only have first-hand experience of the Greater Anglia dispute, where the service on strike days was covered using management. Its apparent success suggests that the RMT has no leverage in that dispute.

Andrew Gwilt   09/12/2017 at 00:00

Not forgetting the Southern and Virgin Trains strikes that has been planned for Christmas and New Year.

David Smith   11/12/2017 at 10:06

Merseyrail "guards" are on the trains in the traditional role of the "guard" on that network - door operators.

David Smith   11/12/2017 at 11:53

Note the comment above about "no pre-conditions". The following is taken from the RMT website :- RMT's policy is for no extension of DOO on any route or service and for the guard to be in full operational control of the power-operated doors. The union has also made it clear that the union is totally opposed to any proposals for extending DOO, reducing or abolishing the safety role of the conductor and reducing or abolishing the role of the conductor in operation of the doors. RMT general secretary Mick Cash also said; “We want to see a guard on every train who is fully safety qualified and operationally trained. As this is a statement of RMT policy, it sounds very much like a pre-condition. Little wonder the strikes go on.

Dorothy Ergin, Liverpool   12/12/2017 at 12:03

If you go on strike, as a last resort, which it is, you do it to cause the maximum impact, not to suit management. This whole situation is bonkers, to do away with guards. If this happens it will cause bedlam on trains, plus there will be job losses without a doubt. Good luck to all RMT members here's hoping to a satisfactory outcome to you.

PP   12/12/2017 at 13:04

Dorothy - you do realise that a number of trains have operated without guards for over 30 years, including the whole of London Underground? I doubt you can even tell the difference between a train with a guard and a train without one. "Bedlam" it ain't.

Phil   20/12/2017 at 11:24

What is the relative safety record of London Underground & Thameslink (that run without a guard) compared to Merseyrail (that run with a guard)? The decision about whether a Guard is or isn't required should be a decision based on evidence with the relevant authorities for safety - not but the RMT who just want to keep all their members employed at all costs.

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