The RMT union, which representing many guards on our network, has announced that its guards’ members on Merseyrail will stage a second 24-hour strike on Saturday 8 April, the day of the Grand National.
This section is designed to inform you about the dispute, providing background information and practical advice about travel on the day of the strike.
How will services be affected on 8 April?
We are currently developing a timetable, which will be designed to move around as many passengers as possible on the day. We plan to publish it by the end of March.
What is the best way for passengers to find out about services that day?
We will communicate this information through numerous channels: our website, our Twitter feed, on trains and stations and through the local media.
Can’t you run trains without guards?
That’s not possible, as the current fleet requires guards to open and close doors. The new trains will be DCO (driver-control operation) and not require guards. Drivers will be responsible for doors and customer service staff will attend to passenger safety and security.
Will you be drafting in other workers to act as guards?
Yes, in order to provide as good as service as possible, we have been training managers to act as guards. These people worked during the first strike on 13 March and will work again in the second strike on 8 April.
Will drivers refuse to work as they did last time?
During the first strike, Merseyrail drivers chose not to cross picket lines, and it is possible that they make the same decision this time. The timetable we intend to publish by the end of March will be based on our experience of the first strike, ie drivers not working.
Will both the Wirral and the Northern lines be affected?
Will you be offering compensation to passengers?
As a gesture of goodwill, passengers who have bought certain tickets valid on strikes days before strikes dates were announced, will be given a Merseyrail voucher. Please contact the Merseyrail customer relations team for more details.
What is the dispute about?
Merseyrail is in dispute with the RMT union, representing many Merseyrail guards. It is about staffing arrangements on the new trains, which will be introduced on to the network in 2020.
The new fleet will no longer have guards, but will create around sixty on-board customer service positions. Ensuring passengers feel safe and secure continues to be the number one priority, and these people will work on the new trains, to assist and reassure passengers.
None of today’s guards or guards’ managers will be forced to leave Merseyrail’s employment. We have pledged that any member of staff who is currently employed as a guard and wants to stay at Merseyrail, will be guaranteed permanent employment in an alternative position once the new trains are introduced.
The new trains, being bought by Merseytravel, have some of the most advanced and innovative safety features seen in the UK and there will be significant enhancements for passengers.
What are you doing to resolve the dispute?
Unfortunately, talks between Merseyrail and the RMT held on 20 March broke down as a result of the RMT’s refusal to discuss roles and responsibilities of the new team of on-board staff, or the options open to our guards, ahead of the arrival of the new fleet. However, we remain committed to resolving the dispute and are keen to get back around the table with our union colleagues.
Do you expect further strikes on the network?
It is possible that the RMT union holds further strikes, but we haven’t been given additional dates yet.
How much notice will you give passengers of a strike day?
We will announce strike days as soon as the RMT notifies us. At the very least, this will be fourteen days in advance.
Could any further strikes last longer than 24 hours?
The strike on 8 April is for 24 hours, but it is possible that any further strikes go on for longer.
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