Both Arriva Rail North and
Merseyrail are due to strike again
THE UK's Rail Union, RMT, have
confirmed that a new strike will take place, on Tuesday, 30 May 217, for 24
hours between 00:01am and 11:59pm on both Arriva Rail North and Merseyrail.
The union said that it was angry and frustrated that both Merseyrail and Arriva
Rail North had both blocked attempts to broker a safe and sustainable settlement
to the disputes. RMT's executive also paid tribute to the Merseyrail members who
have taken 2 days of rock solid action and who have mounted a highly effective
picketing operation on those strike days.
The RMT clais that Merseyrail turned down a union proposal to set up a
"safety working group," alongside outside safety bodies and the train
manufacturer Stadler, on the principle that a 2nd safety critical person would
be retained on all services.
Also with Arriva Rail North, the Union claims the company jams the brakes on all
efforts to make progress in the long running dispute over rail safety and the
headlong dash towards Driver Only Operation. As well as digging their heels in
on the crucial issue of the guarantee of a 2nd safety critical member of
staff on their trains the company continue to plough on with plans to introduce
a minimum of 50% driver controlled operation across the franchise upon the
introduction of the new rolling stock without agreement and in the teeth of
opposition from the public, politicians and their own staff.
RMT General secretary Mick Cash said:- "It is disgraceful that Merseyrail
continues to refuse all reasonable attempts by the Union to settle this dispute.
Merseyrail has repeatedly kicked all conciliatory approaches by RMT negotiators
back in our faces and made it crystal clear that all that they are interested in
is the union signing a surrender document which gives them a free hand to rip
apart the safety culture on the railway. It is that cynical and hostile stance
from Merseyrail which has left us with no option, but to put on this additional
strike action. RMT recognises the severe impact that the action will have but we
are dealing with an employer that refuses to listen or engage with the union on
the critical issue of safe rail operation and we ask the public to understand
that we have no option, but to take this high profile action to force the
company back to the negotiating table. There is ample time, between now and 30
May 2017, for genuine talks to take place and for a safe and sustainable deal
that protects the future safety across Merseyrail services to be, put in place.
The company should take up that offer of further talks as a matter of urgency.
Merseyrail are completely ignoring the clear wishes of their own passengers, who
overwhelmingly oppose the idea of Driver Only Operated trains on their network.
That pig headed attitude has forced the union's hand and the idea that we would
compromise on the fundamental issue of rail safety is absurd. The ball is now
firmly in Merseyrail's court."
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:- "The sheer intransigence of Arriva
Rail North means that we have no option, but to confirm a further 24 hours of
strike action. The responsibility for the inevitable disruption lies wholly with
the company. We are angry and frustrated that Arriva continue to face up to the
facts and also continue to ignore a perfectly reasonable Union proposal to
invite the DfT to join us in 3 way talks aimed at finding a solution. The
public, who support RMT's campaign for a guarantee of a guard on their trains,
will be appalled that Arriva Rail North have failed yet again to offer any kind
of progress whatsoever in the talks and have instead opted to try and bulldoze
through their plans regardless. It is that flagrant disregard for the safety
issues at the heart of the dispute which leaves us with no option, but to press
on with the campaign of strike action. RMT commends our Arriva Rail North
Members on their rock solid display of strength, resolve and unity during the
action so far in opposition to the introduction of driver controlled operation
and defence of the guards to guarantee a safer, securer and more accessible
railway for all. We have no doubt that they our members will remain united and
determined as we prepare for the next phase of action in a fortnight. The Union
continues to remain available for meaningful discussions with the company in
order to seek a satisfactory resolution to the on going dispute."