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Posted by: John Brace | 12th March 2017

Merseytravel blamed by Merseyrail as cause of 1 day strike tomorrow by RMT over axing guards from trains

Merseytravel blamed by Merseyrail as cause of 1 day strike tomorrow by RMT over axing guards from trains

                             

Merseytravel Committee (Liverpool City Region Combined Authority) meeting 25th June 2015 Middle Row L to R Cllr Jerry Williams, Cllr Steve Foulkes, Cllr Malcolm Sharp, Cllr Terry Shields

Merseytravel Committee (Liverpool City Region Combined Authority) meeting 25th June 2015 Middle Row L to R Cllr Jerry Williams, Cllr Steve Foulkes, Cllr Malcolm Sharp, Cllr Terry Shields

UPDATED 12.37 13.3.17: Merseyrail have suspended all trains until at least 2pm as drivers (presumably not part of the RMT union) refuse to cross picket lines, so trains are not running at all on the Merseyrail network at this point in time.

It was like the Wild West out there at the train station.

And who should I spy scurrying away, why a blast from the past Steve Maddox (with his wife)!

Those who remember will know that Steve Maddox was once clerk to Merseytravel (in the days it met at Hatton Garden).

So in a way I think the universe is gently nudging me to write this story!

In train related news, the workers are getting cross at the local politicians’ plan to axe the guards when new trains are introduced .

Decided in a behind closed doors extraordinary meeting last year, councillors (including Cllr Steve Foulkes (Labour), Cllr Jerry Williams (Labour) and Cllr Les Rowlands (Conservative)) agreed to new trains that only need drivers and not guards.

The National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) has called a strike for tomorrow (Monday 13th March 2017).

The strike will lead to disruption of timetabled services.

Merseyrail (their employer) objected to the High Court on the basis that RMT’s dispute was with Merseytravel not with Merseyrail, however this call for an injunction was rejected by the judiciary.

RMT is also striking on Northern Rail services too on the same day.

On the Merseyrail network (in addition to the planned engineering works that mean Liverpool Lime Street (Wirral Line), Moorfields (Wirral Line) and Liverpool Central (Wirral Line) will be closed), during the day of the strike action tomorrow Merseyrail plan to run trains only from 7am to 7pm with a half hourly service.

Services from Liverpool Lime Street (which was only recently reopened) travelling with Northern Rail to Manchester Victoria and Wigan North Western services will also be disrupted.

Northern Rail has a page on their website outlining the changes to timetables and so does Merseyrail.

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Responses

  1. So they are axing the guards, so when someone falls beneth the trains now will the train driver be arrested?

    Many years ago my late uncle who was a train driver from Liverpool to London told me when the Queen travelled on his train, there were more guards on board than you could count.

    • I’ll try and be as clear as I can, although as this wasn’t decided in public it can get a bit confusing.

      I’m sure somebody out there will correct me if I get it wrong.

      Merseytravel (the councillors) want new trains. Meseytravel contract Merseyrail to run the trains on the Wirral and Northern lines under a franchise.

      Merseytravel have agreed a contract for new trains. If I remember correctly Merseytravel state that all the bids for the contract were all driver only operated trains (no guard needed).

      The union (RMT) is in dispute because:

      a) they see driver operated trains as less safe and
      b) driver only trains will lead to job losses of guards and guard managers.

      Essentially the union’s argument is that guards are needed (hence the strike). For example if it’s a six car train and it has to stop and be evacuated (as happened recently when Lime Street was shut) or some other kind of incident happens.

      The new trains are still (as far as I know) in the process of being manufactured and won’t be ready for some time yet. So the guards will be on the trains for the immediate future.

      However the dispute over the guard issue has been rumbling on for a long time.

      Essentially the councillors on Merseytravel had a behind closed doors meeting about this before Christmas and you can read the minutes of that meeting if you wish to.

      The councillors agreed the following resolution “(g) due to concerns relating to the potential job losses that this decision could generate, the Merseytravel Committee requests that, subject to successful negotiation between Merseyrail and the relevant trade unions, the permanent guards and guard managers employed as of 16 December 2016 and affected by these decisions are given a guarantee of continued employment.”

      It’s obvious however that negotiations between Merseyrail and the trade unions have failed as Merseyrail’s position is that the major issues about the franchise are outside of their hands and are made by politicians on Merseytravel (although this was rejected by the court as a reason to stop the strike).

    • The’re filling in the gaps so there won’t be gaos for people to fall into, so that aspect will be irrelevant anyway

      • Unfortunately the gap between the platform and train varies from station to station.

        Even at the same station it’ll vary as some are on a section of curved track.

        Not all mobility impaired passengers are provided with a ramp.

        So there is still the potential there for accidents, for example at Chester where the gap is still quite large.

  2. Oh I see. I was getting rather outraged that Labour councillors appear to be voting for job losses. It appears there is more to it. However it is evident that the train operating companies want to bring in technology merely as a way of maximising revenue for shareholders. This of course must be opposed. And who do you call when thugs are being anti-social – a computer?

    • To be honest if memory serves correct there was a protest before the meeting and there have been regular protests by the RMT at Mann Island leading up to this.

      Merseytravel see it as a Merseyrail issue.
      Merseyrail see it as a Merseytravel issue.

      However to be clear Merseytravel determine the contract (albeit in discussion with the successful bidder), have put out tenders for new trains and apparently if my memory is right didn’t receive any back that included guards.

      Politicians have made a decision to buy new rolling stock, which is part of what’s caused this dispute.

  3. G’day John

    I warned “Fartin Lobsterpot” and “Phil the Very Very Very Very Slimy, Elusive, LYING and Deluded Dill” to stay off the plonk in Cannes.

    The rubbish paper from over Kev and Stella’s Stinking Stagnant wirral Waters

    £1 BILLION plan to transform Birkenhead and Wirral

    Mate the delusional fool could build quite a few golf courses with that little bundle of dosh.

    Ooroo

    James

    Mate they won’t get a penny investment they are all there, the Basnett et al on a junket of learning double entry and telling each other how they can visit each other and each other will foot the bill.

    You don’t go to a massive beano of PUBIC SERVANTS to find where to invest that is just for the hangers on and parasites like Kenny Whatsits.

    • He’s going with Mayor Anderson isn’t he?

      If you remember they had plans with Neptune for Birkenhead that didn’t get off the drawing board!

      However with polling day for a Metro Mayor election (and presumably Claughton by election) just 8 weeks away expect more of these sorts of headlines.


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