Posted by: John Brace | 3rd January 2018

Why are there 3 further days of strike action on the Merseyrail network this month?

Why are there 3 further days of strike action on the Merseyrail network this month?


One of the new driver only operated trains ordered by Merseytravel that has led to the strikes

One of the new driver only operated trains ordered by Merseytravel that has led to the strikes

One of my New Year resolutions has been to speak truth to power.

The media unfortunately too often protects the establishment at the expense of the public.

There are three further days of strike action on the Merseyrail network next week (8th, 10th and 12th January).

The issues behind the long running dispute have already been covered on this blog.

In summary the positions are that Merseytravel and Merseyrail believe guards will not be needed on the new trains, the RMT union disagrees. Politicians in 2016 on the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and councillors on the Merseytravel Committee (now called the Transport Committee) decided to press ahead with new trains in the full knowledge that the trade unions had concerns.

In another twist, a losing bidder Bombardier Transportation Limited sued Merseytravel over how the contract was awarded.

Below is the question I have submitted to be answered by Cllr Gordon Friel (Lead Member for Rail and Freight) at a public meeting of the Transport Committee (Liverpool City Region Combined Authority) scheduled for the 4th January 2018.

Question 1
Happy New Year. As the Lead Member for Rail and Freight, I am sure you are aware of the recent strikes over the past year by the RMT union on the Merseyrail train network about the introduction of new trains (rolling stock) on the Merseyrail network. The decisions to go for new rolling stock were made at the Merseytravel Committee meeting and Liverpool City Region Combined Authority meeting both held on the 16th December 2016.

At some point in the future, both Merseyrail and Merseytravel have decided that guards are not required on the new trains. Can you please explain to the public the reasons why this change has been decided and what is planned to happen to those who are currently employed as guards?

Question 2 (Supplementary Question)
On the 22nd November 2017, there was an adjournment debate in the House of Commons on “Guards on Merseyrail trains”, which can be read in Hansard at the following link . Merseytravel and the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority were both referred to during that debate.

Would you like to respond specifically to the comments made by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport (Paul Maynard) about guards on Merseyrail trains during the course of the debate?

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  1. Speak Truth To Power you say John! Good luck on that one my dear dear friend. You’ll find, and deep down you know it to be so, that speaking in a plain and straightforward truthful manner to these slavish followers to Common Purpose is rather like me convincing my tormentor of forty three years that hitting me in the face with her favoured frying pan because I’ve arrived home late having supped fifteen pints of ale, has become a futile excercise in doorstep punishment that only wills me on to be gifted the mother of all heart attacks that’ll bring about an end to my personal misery.
    If you can’t get these people to shift their ground and respond honestly, and you can’t, and the mighty Leaks and Cardin have thus far failed in a similar pursuit, I’d say your genuine New Years Resolution is doomed to fail and leave you scratching your head at the end of this new calendar year asking, ‘why did I bloody bother’.
    The only way you and anyone else can ever halt the slide to inevitable disappointment is to begin an era of kidnapping these trough feeders and releasing them only after they’ve conceded something the people value and accompanying the happy release with some well chosen words of genuine truth and honesty, such as, ‘from hereon we are going to be honest with the people. Better that than arriving home to find our colleagues were kidnapped and the demand for their release was accompanied by a Proof Of Life photograph showing the captured holding up the latest edition of Wirral View.
    Happy New Year John to you and Lennora!

  2. […] « Why are there 3 further days of strike action on the Merseyrail network this month? […]

  3. Are there guards on London Underground?

    • I don’t know Will, although I remember visiting London around a decade ago and there was industrial action on the London Underground. I did travel on some London Underground trains and don’t remember a guard.

      According to what I’ve just read online it took London Underground from 1984 to 2000 to switch from using a driver and guard to one person operating the train.