Rail commuters face three days of strike action
Passengers are being warned to plan their journeys and check before they travel ahead of three planned days of RMT strike action next week.
Members of the RMT union are intending to strike on Monday 8 January, along with Wednesday 10 January and Friday 12 January, affecting services on Northern Rail and Merseyrail.
Merseytravel said that Merseyrail services are planned to run every 30 minutes, with the exception of the New Brighton to Liverpool services which will be every hour, from around 06:30 to 19:30, with a break in service between approximately 11:00 and 13:30.
Wirral services will start and terminate from James Street Station, and there will be no services on the following lines: Hunts Cross – Liverpool Central; Ellesmere Port – Hooton; Chester – Hooton, Kirkby – Liverpool Central and Ormskirk – Maghull.
Northern will operate a reduced service, with the majority of available trains operating between 07:00 and 19:00. Services on some routes will finish earlier and some stations will have no service,
Andy Heath, managing director of Merseyrail, said: “I am really disappointed with the strike action being taken by the RMT that will, after the previous strike days, yet again result in more disruption.
“At the request of the Metro Mayor, we agreed to independent conciliation with the RMT union with no pre-conditions, but to date, the RMT have refused to meet without pre-conditions. I am very keen to begin a meaningful dialogue and engage in a detailed negotiation to find a middle ground which will satisfy all parties.
“As always, we will ensure that we deliver as robust a timetable as we can.”
However, the union insisted that the train operating company’s position on the RMT accepting driver-only operated trains amounts to a pre-condition. General secretary Mick Cash said: “Our members are angry and frustrated that yet again a genuine opportunity to make progress in talks has been kicked into touch.
“RMT was prepared to enter into a serious discussion around operational models similar to agreements reached in Wales and Scotland but the door was slammed in our faces.
“As a result of the Arriva Rail North attitude the action goes ahead in defence of rail safety, access and security and the public will understand that we are fighting in the interests of rail passengers across the region.”
Sharon Keith, regional director at Northern, said: “We are doing everything we can to keep our customers on the move during the three days of industrial action affecting our network.
“We are still working to determine the exact services we will be able to operate, but those trains that do run will be on an amended timetable and are likely to be extremely busy.”