Merseyrail New Trains 2020
Artist's impression of new Merseyrail trains where doors would be operated by driver not a guard in the carriage

Leaders call for end to Merseyrail dispute

Liverpool City Region metro mayor Steve Rotheram and city mayor Joe Anderson have come together, along with the five leaders of the city region’s districts, to write an open letter to transport union RMT and Merseyrail, calling on both sides to engage in immediate independent conciliation without conditions to find a settlement of their dispute as early as possible.

The increasingly bitter dispute, which has seen several days of strike action affect the city, stems from Merseyrail’s plan to combine the introduction of new rolling stock with a driver-only system that will see the role of on-board guards phased out. Calling for dialogue, the letter states:

“We are concerned that this dispute is continuing, and feel that only meaningful dialogue and a willingness to engage in detailed negotiation can find a way forward. We are equally concerned that statements emanating from both sides only serve to entrench positions and have the potential to make it more difficult for sides to come to a negotiated settlement.”

The civic figureheads said that they accept that major change and innovation can always be a source of tension and disruption, but that they believe there is more than enough time between now and the introduction of new trains in 2020 to work out a mutually acceptable solution that works for the operator, employees and travellers.

Rotheram said: “We have been in contact with both sides to encourage dialogue and resolution, but it is now our belief that an independent process of conciliation without conditions could achieve a breakthrough. The dispute has gone on for long enough and for the benefit of the public, both parties need to break the deadlock.”

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Unions have had their day. The only purpose they serve in 2017 is to intimidate. Bullying had its place in the 1970’s, not in today’s world

By CMW

We need guards on trains, forever end of story. Especially in the times we live in now. I am not sure if I am being dense but surely if the driver is driving the train then who sorts stuff out if there are incidents on the train? If they actually made a more concerted effort in regard to fare dodgers then they could pay for a guard on each train and possibly reduce ticket costs. I was on a train home Manchester (I appreciate this is a different entity) after an evening out and there were two gentlemen with Ipads who were doing a survey. The blind panic on the majority of people’s faces with the ‘oh can I get a ticket to Warrington please’ was astounding. The guys said oh sorry we are only doing a survey – then the relief! No attempt to buy a ticket! Shocking. We should all be prepared to pay -and we should all be fighting this cause that we need guards on trains!

By Russell Bolton

When people say they want a guard on every train what they mean is a security guard and/or ticket inspector not a “safety critical guard” as demanded by the RMT. If the union was prepared to compromise on that there could be a solution that settled this long running dispute.

By Wirralman

Guards don’t sort problems on the train – the open and shut doors on the train. The safety critical argument doesn’t wash. You do not even know there is one on-board 99% of the time given the automated announcements. Technology has moved on and so must the Unions. I do not know many people that support this action and with each planned strike – even less!

By Craig Earley

This is the most subsidised rail network in the country.

By Merseyfail

I know it is confusing, because we have a mayor to spare, but this re-wording should help clarify:

“Liverpool City Region mayor Steve Rotheram has come together with the six leaders of the city region’s districts”.

The leader of Liverpool district may have a title, but it is no more important than any of the other city district leaders, and doesn’t merit a name check.

By Mike

Whilst I too would miss guards on our trains (even if the additional safety they provide is more perceived than real), with driver-only trains accepted across much busier networks than ours (including 30% of the mainline network, plus the London Underground – and that’s just in this country), how do they expect to win an argument that has already been played out – and lost – countless times?

By Born-again-Scouser

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