RMT members vote for action on Merseyrail in fight to retain safety-critical guards - union confirms strike dates.
The union confirmed today that members have voted overwhelmingly for both strike action and action short of a strike in a ballot for industrial action after Merseyrail’s continued failure to provide cast iron assurances around the future of the safety critical role of the guard.
Action has by RMT’s Merseyrail guards and drivers has been confirmed as follows: Members not to book on for any shifts between 0001hrs and 23.59 hrs on Monday 13th March.
In addition members will not work any rest days from 00.01 hrs on Tuesday 7th March indefinitely.
81.8% of members voted for strike action with 93.5% backing action short of a strike.
In a statement Merseyrail said:
Following the announcement that RMT guard members have voted in favour of strike action, Merseyrail has made clear that we will work hard to provide the highest level of service possible under the challenging conditions of future strikes. We have also pledged to do everything we can to bring the dispute to a satisfactory and swift conclusion and are committed to continuing dialogue with the RMT. Industrial action relates to the new fleet of trains, coming into service during 2020, which will no longer require the role of guards due to the way the trains will be operated. However, around sixty on board customer service positions will be created. Ensuring passengers feel safe and secure continues to be the number one priority, and these people will work on board the new trains, to assist and reassure passengers. As things stand, none of today’s guards will be forced to leave Merseyrail’s employment. We have promised that any member of staff who is currently employed as a guard and wants to stay at Merseyrail, will be guaranteed permanent employment in an alternative position, on the same terms and conditions as now, subject to successful negotiation between Merseyrail and the relevant trade unions, once the new trains are introduced. The first strike date is 13 March, and information about services will be available at stations, on our website and social media channels in the coming days. Over the last few weeks, we have been refining our contingency plans for a guards’ strike based on the anticipated resources available, and some managers have been being trained to act as guards.