Merseyrail – Driver only trains (No guards) – TUC puts more pressure on Labour-run Merseytravel

Merseytravel logo

Nice to see the TUC wading into this matter of public safety concerns. Here is the text of a letter sent by the TUC, by Lynn Collins, to Cllr. Liam Robinson the Chairperson of Merseytravel:-

tuc_Logo

Dear Liam

New Merseyrail Rolling Stock – Driver Only Operation of Trains

I’m writing following the Annual Conference of the North West TUC which unanimously passed a resolution on the threat of removal of guards and the introduction of a Driver Only Operation in the North West.

During a very lively debate, delegates from many unions spoke in support of the resolution. Notably the Fire Brigades Union raised specific safety concerns in relation to DOO/DCO mode in the single bore underground sections of the Merseyrail Network. Both our Disabled Workers Forum, and our Women’s Committee also expressed their concerns in relation to access and safety.

I know John Tilley has written to you detailing the specific safety related issues, and I look forward to seeing your response to those concerns shared by all our unions.

I have offered my assistance to our rail unions in working with you to reach an agreement on a way forward that puts passenger safety and security at the heart of an integrated transport system for Liverpool City Region.

Kind regards.

Yours sincerely

It will be interesting to see Merseytravel squirm over this issue and you can bet your bottom Dollar they will be being kept under significant pressure not to remove train guards when they order the new trains for Merseyrail.

Guards on Merseyrail Trains – Pressure mounting on Labour-run Merseytravel to keep them for passenger safety reasons.

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/union-vows-fight-merseytravel-plan-11113923

The Liverpool Echo has the story – see link above

This one has been doing the rounds for a few months now and Merseytravel the Labour-run public body responsible to the Liverpool City Region Leaders for passenger transport is trying to say nothing. When you hear ‘no decisions’ have been made yet it must mean they are seriously considering removing the guards, otherwise surely they would have killed the issue off ages ago by clearly stating they would not be doing so.

Merseytravel logo

My last posting on the issue is available below:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2016/02/05/merseyrail-train-guards-under-threat-union-steps-up-campaign/

Obviously the RMT union is trying to defend the interests of its members; that’s what a trade union is for. But hang on there’s a wider travelling public safety issue as well. It must surely be the case that passengers, particularly female ones, feel safer on a train when a guard is present. Removing guards can only make passengers feel more vulnerable.

A present day Merseyrail electric unit.

A present day Merseyrail electric unit.

It’s about time we heard Merseytravel’s case for either keeping or getting rid of the guards, simply repeating that ‘no decisions’ have been made yet is not good enough. There is a very real danger that if they keep kicking this matter into the long grass that when they do get off the fence (or is that out of the siding) it will be too late for objectors to have any real influence on the matter. Of course Merseytravel must surely realise this so could they be stringing it out say past the local elections on 5th May?

Merseyrail – Train Guards under threat – Union steps up campaign

A Liverpool bound 507 EMU approaching the Crescent Road level crossing in Birkdale, Southport.

A Liverpool bound 507 EMU approaching the Crescent Road level crossing in Birkdale, Southport.

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/railway-workers-step-up-pressure-10829747

The Liverpool Echo has the story – see link above

Merseyrail's Kirkdale Motive Power Depot with Kirkdale Station in the background.

Merseyrail’s Kirkdale Motive Power Depot with Kirkdale Station in the background.

Folks I speak to want Merseyrail to retain guards on trains to aid safety. Women in particular are concerned about their removal. It seems many outside of the RMT union will be backing their campaign to keep the guards.

The big decision will be the one made by the Liverpool City Region and its Merseytravel Committee as they will specify whether the guards will stay or go.

New trains for Merseyrail – but backlash at guards removal

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/union-bosses-rail-services-slide-9984704

The Liverpool Echo has the story – see link above

Yes I know I am a trade unionist pointing out that the trade union representing railway workers in the UK is unhappy with the removal of guards on Merseyrail trains when the new rolling stock is delivered sometime in the future. So we would say that would we not.

Could the new guardless Merseyrail trains look like this?

Could the new guardless Merseyrail trains look like this?

But when I posted about the promised couple of days ago I raised this very concern and of course I am wholly unsurprised that the RMT union has raised similar concerns. My previous post is here:-
tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2015/09/02/new-trains-for-merseyside-promised-yet-again/

It is obviously the case that the RMT union has to first defend its members jobs in any way that it can but here they do have what I see as a valid point in the wider context of safety on on local railway network. I wonder if the Labour comrades who run the Liverpool City Region will take any notice of the RMT’s representations?