12 April 2017
RMT Press Office:
RMT urges Labour mayoral hopeful to back guards’ campaign.
LABOUR’S candidate in the Liverpool region’s mayoral race has today been urged to declare his support for the campaign to retain guards on Merseyrail’s new fleet of trains.
Rail union RMT has called on Steve Rotheram to pledge that he will do all in his power to ensure that there will be a second safety-critical crew member aboard every Merseyrail train if he wins the May 4 election and takes over responsibility for transport.
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:
“Steve’s positive and energetic campaign emphasises that he is ‘one of us’, and asks the people of Liverpool City Region to wrest the region from the malign grip of the Tories.
“Steve has the opportunity to do just that by showing that he is on the side of Merseyside’s travelling public, and not on the side of Merseyrail’s Dutch-owned private operator or the Tory ministers in the Department for Transport who see profit as more important than people.
“We have kept Steve fully informed about the situation in meetings and detailed briefings, and Steve now has a golden opportunity to influence the outcome of one of the key transport issues facing the Liverpool region.
“Steve knows that Merseyrail is Britain’s most profitable train-operating company, yet is paying absolutely nothing towards the new fleet, and that it could easily afford to retain guards and still make a substantial and growing profit.
“He also knows that Merseyrail has a contractual clause that forces local taxpayers to foot the bill for the dispute, when that money could be used to finance a solution to it.
“The travelling public are overwhelmingly behind our campaign, and a Labour pledge to maintain safety, service standards and local jobs will be enormously popular.
“What is at stake is maintaining the safest possible operation of the Merseyrail network for the next 30 years, and whether it remains attractive and secure or becomes a haven for anti-social and criminal behaviour.
“Now is the ideal moment for Steve to say he is with the disabled passengers, the women travelling alone, the elderly, the young – in fact all sections of the community that use the rail network, who overwhelmingly want a guard on every train.”