10 January 2018
RMT Press Office:
RMT calls on City Region to remove road-block to settlement
THE FALLACY that Merseyrail is prepared to enter talks without preconditions over the safety role of guards has been blown wide apart by the company’s own letter to staff.
In a round-robin to guards, operations director Zoe Hands makes clear not only that Merseyrail’s plan to remove all 207 guards’ jobs is not negotiable, but that even the proposed small number of non-safety critical on-board posts are not guaranteed to be permanent.
The letter asserts baldly that the company will not “satisfy the RMT demand of a guaranteed second safety-critical person on every train,” demolishing the notion spun by Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram that talks without pre-conditions were on offer.
It also makes any guarantee that the downgraded on-board roles will be retained until the lucrative Merseyrail franchise ends in 2028 conditional on what the company calls “positive movement” towards the union accepting surrender terms.
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:
“We have said from the beginning that Merseyrail’s starting point for talks is the removal of all guards, and the company could not have been clearer in its letter to our members that it is interested only in negotiating the terms of our surrender.
“Now they are also trying to scare our members with a cynical threat over the non-safety-critical on-board jobs that Merseyrail were trying pass off as an adequate replacement for properly trained guards.
“Merseyrail’s mask has slipped, and the Metro Mayor and the other politicians who have been echoing their nonsense need to decide whether they support the most profitable private train operator in the country or the passengers and rail staff who want to put safety first.”
RMT Regional Organiser John Tilley said:
“There has been far too cosy a relationship between the authority and Merseyrail from the start, with senior managers from the private operator embedded in key Merseytravel committees exerting undue influence over the whole new trains project.
“The Metro Mayor and the City Region Authority have tried to present themselves as innocent bystanders and honest brokers, but it is their own untenable decision to support the removal of guards that needs to be reversed.
“That decision, made by councillors more than a year ago, has allowed Merseyrail to hide behind them, and stands in the way of us being able to negotiate a sensible and safe solution to the staffing of the new Merseyrail trains.”
Note to editors: The letter from Merseyrail Operations Manager Zoe Hands is attached