11 January 2017
RMT Press Office:
RAIL UNION RMT has told Merseyrail that it will be in dispute with the company if it fails by January 26 to provide cast-iron assurances around the future of the safety critical role of the guard.
The union has written to Merseyrail following the recent announcement that new rolling stock to be procured for the network would be configured for driver-only operation, and that guards would be removed from all Merseyrail services.
As well as grave concerns over the downgrading of passenger safety that introduction of DOO represents on Merseyrail, the union also has concerns over the future job security of fleet maintenance workers affected by the decision.
RMT general secretary Mick Cash said:
“The union’s position on Driver Only Operation is perfectly clear. We will not agree to any extensions of DOO and will fight to retain the safety critical role of the guard and to keep a guard on the train.
“RMT has asked Merseyrail on numerous occasions for assurances that any new trains will have a second safety critical crew member on board and that the guard will be retained on all services.
“To date, the company has failed to provide the union with these assurances.
“If Scotrail, which is run by Abellio, the same franchisee that operates Merseyrail, can introduce new trains with guards, then so can Merseyrail.
“And if Stadler, which is building the Merseyrail trains, can build conventionally operated trains for the Greater Anglia franchise, which is also run by Abellio, then it can build them for Merseyrail.
“I have written to Merseyrail and informed them that if we haven’t received assurances over the safety critical role of the guard by 26th January then we will be in dispute with the company.”