The Liverpool Echo has the story on its website – see link below:-
And isn’t this the very section of its workforce that Northern seems to be in almost permanent dispute with via the RMT trade union due to this franchise operator’s wish to run trains without train guards?!
A 507/508 EMU Merseyrail unit at Crescent Road level crossing – Birkdale, Southport.
So the RMT guards dispute is finally over and the near end result seems to be about the best that could have been hoped for by the RMT trade union and indeed the travelling public who backed them in their quest to have a 2nd member of staff on every Merseyrail Train when the new Stadler trains are introduced.
BUT, and its a big but, of course the new train fleet ordered by Merseytravel (the Transport Committee of the Liverpool City Region) was the cause of the dispute and I’m surprised that other commentators don’t seem to have grasped that pertinent point i.e. that Merseyrail were as much the victims of the political decision to have only a Driver Only Operation as the RMT trade union.
I do wonder whether behind the scenes the owners of the Merseyrail franchise (Serco and Abellio) had signaled (no railway pun intended here) that they had had a gut full of being the fall-guys for this dispute?
A new Stadler Merseyrail train artist impression
The Liverpool Echo has the story on its web site – see link below:-
A dispute started by politicians has been won by the trade union they took on and eventually lost to.
Whilst Merseyrail, the train operator, was in effect dumped on and made to take on the RMT by Merseytravel (the Transport Committee of the Liverpool City Region) the real battle was always with the politicians of the Liverpool City Region. The fact is the politicians lost because they never had the backing of the travelling public who clearly wanted a second person on each and every Merseyrail train.
RMT Trade union’s ‘Keep the Guards Campaign’ 1, leading Merseyside politicians Nil. Oh yes and it was our local Labour political leaders whom the RMT took on and beat.
With thanks to Keith Page and Roy Connell for the lead to this posting.
I guess many of passengers using Northern Rail in recent times will have asked themselves this question. Cancelled trains due to a lack of rolling stock and or drivers/guards seem to be an everyday occurrence nowadays and of course, as with Merseyrail, Northern are deeply into industrial action with rail union RMT over loss of train guards on new rolling stock.
I’m told that locally cancelled trains on the Ormskirk – Preston Line are now a common occurrence, but it’s clear that Northern’s problems extend over the whole franchise area and it must be the case that Arriva, who own the Northern Rail franchise, are under pressure.
That northern MP’s are getting to the end of their tether with Northern is to be expected as their constituents fill the MP’s post bags with stories of poor performance. That frustration amongst northern MP’s leads to this (see link below):-
And of course we have seen that the services on the Southport – Wigan – Manchester line are soon to go into Manchester Victoria Station, with few going to Manchester Piccadilly and none to Manchester Airport anymore.
All in all it seems that Northern’s passengers have a lot to be unhappy about but how are the problems going to get fixed?
Merseyrail’s new Stadler Trains, to be delivered in a couple of years time, are at the heart of the dispute about driver only operated trains.
The BBC has an article about the next round of strike action on its web site – see link above
Oh no you might say Robertson’s banging on about those interminable railway strikes again. Well yes he is but from Jeremy’s perspective! You see a couple of days ago I saw a tweet from JC which said this:-
‘This @RMTunion film shows why it is essential to keep guards on our trains. Please share and support this important campaign. #KeepTheGuardOnTheTrain’
Well no problem with the tweet in itself BUT just hang on a minute Jeremy, why did Labour-run Merseytravel order new trains for Merseyrail that are intended to be run without train guards then? The RMT are right about Keeping the guards, in my view, but Labour is complicit in the guards getting axed here on Merseyside.
May I suggest to Jeremy that he tells his comrades on Merseyside that the order for trains meant to run without guards needs to be revised so that they run with train guards, then his Merseyside chums will no longer be embarrassing him.
The Liverpool Echo has details of the forthcoming Merseyrail strike days via the article linked above
So the Merseyrail train guards dispute rumbles on with no sign of a resolution. At face value it’s the RMT Union against Merseyrail, the private sector franchise operator of trains on Merseyside. But hang on that’s far too simplistic an assessment of the dispute. Why? Because the genesis of the dispute is firmly within the hands of Merseytravel the public sector transport Committee of the Liverpool City Region.
It was Merseytravel who agreed to purchase new trains that can/will run without train guards not Merseyrail
This simple fact seems to have been lost for reasons I can’t quite get my head around. Yes Merseyrail have to do what Merseytravel tells them to do so they are pursuing the dispute in effect on behalf of Merseytravel. That being the case why is it not Merseytravel under pressure?
Answers on a postcard……..
Note – My letter on this subject was published in the Aintree & Maghull Champion Newspaper on 10th January