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Weekly Edition - Publication date:- 2017-20-05

-en Southport & Mersey Reporter

Local News Report  - Mobile Page


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."


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