Councillors call for independent report into Northern Rail timetable changes to be published and RMT union agree to three further days of strike action

Councillors call for independent report into Northern Rail timetable changes to be published and RMT union agree to three further days of strike action

Councillors call for independent report into Northern Rail timetable changes to be published and RMT union agree to three further days of strike action

                                        

Northern Rail train Chester 9th June 2018
Northern Rail train Chester 9th June 2018

Councillors on the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority’s Transport Committee last Thursday afternoon agreed an urgent motion proposed by the Lead Member for Rail and Freight (Cllr Gordon Friel) which you can watch below.
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Why will Merseyrail services be disrupted on the 8th, 10th and 23rd July 2017 due to strike action?

Why will Merseyrail services be disrupted on the 8th, 10th and 23rd July 2017 due to strike action?

Why will Merseyrail services be disrupted on the 8th, 10th and 23rd July 2017 due to strike action?

                              

Bidston Train Station (Borderlands Line) 13th August 2016 (John Brace)
Bidston Train Station (Borderlands Line) 13th August 2016 (John Brace)

Merseyrail employees who are part of the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) are striking on Saturday 8th July 2017, Monday 10th July 2017 and Sunday 23rd July 2017.

Although Merseyrail are hoping to run to a reduced timetable on strike days (which means Merseyrail trains will not stop at many stations on the Wirral and be less frequent at the others) the entire train network was known to be stopped completely on a strike day earlier this year in March for safety reasons.

Trains on the Bidston to Wrexham Central line which is run by Arriva Trains Wales won’t be affected by this strike. Although people planning to connect at Bidston to a Merseyrail train during one of the three strike days will be.

There is also a strike by Northern Rail staff planned for the 8th July 2017, 9th July 2017 and 10th July 2017 which will result in a reduced service (on Merseyside this is generally services that go to and from Liverpool Lime Street). Further details on their reduced timetable are on Northern Rail’s website.

The Merseyrail and Northern Rail strikes are caused by a dispute between employers and the union over new trains in 2020 which will be staffed only by a driver and not a driver and guard as at present.

The lost revenue to Merseyrail during each strike day is estimated by the RMT union at £139,000 a day (plus the cost of contingency arrangements).

Under the franchise agreement between Merseytravel and Merseyrail, the public sector will pay Merseyrail for the lost profits due to industrial action.

So for the three strike days this is estimated at £417,000 (plus contingency arrangements) paid for out of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority budget (who control Merseytravel).

Last year in a private meeting councillors on the LCRCA Merseytravel Committee and Council Leaders on the LCRCA agreed to the contract for new trains.

On Monday 10th July (one of the strike days) Liverpool City Council’s Constitutional Issues Committee meets to decide on a recommendation to pay the Chair of the Merseytravel Committee Cllr Liam Robinson £29,983 a year for his role on the Merseytravel Committee (in addition to amounts he receives as a Liverpool City Council councillor).

Cllr Liam Robinson is also the portfolio holder for Transport on the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority which meets next week on Friday 14th July 2017.

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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 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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