Yesterday, the RMT union, after our passengers and the public have been strike free since March 2018, has announced that it is returning to strikes causing severe disruption across the City Region.
I have never seen the likes of this in over 30 years of working in the rail industry. This announcement will just create more unnecessary and avoidable inconvenience for our passengers, the public and local businesses, especially when, in our final proposal, we provided the RMT with what they were asking for.
Merseyrail Managing Director
Our passengers and the public across the City Region need to be aware that this is the second time we have reached an agreed position at ACAS, which met the union’s demands, for it to be rejected by the London-based national executive committee.
Commenting on yesterday’s announcement Andy Heath, Merseyrail Managing Director, said:
“I have personally been at every one of the 18 ACAS meetings and my whole team has given their full commitment when reaching the March and July 2019 agreements. The RMT demanded a second safety critical person on our new fleet of trains and as a result of the ACAS discussions they secured this, subject to funding. However, towards the end of the discussions, the RMT was just making increasingly unreasonable and unrealistic demands and going backwards on key elements of the deal that they had previously agreed to. This was always a dispute about the RMT wishing to retain a guaranteed second safety-critical person on all new Merseyrail trains. We delivered this and this is still not good enough for the RMT.
“The RMT - twice in the space of a couple of months - made new ultimatums which are inconsistent with their original demands. I am now struggling to comprehend what this dispute is really all about. I have never seen the likes of this in over 30 years of working in the rail industry. This announcement will just create more unnecessary and avoidable inconvenience for our passengers, the public and local businesses, especially when, in our final proposal, we provided the RMT with what they were asking for.”
“We will do everything we can to deliver as much of a service as possible for our passengers during the strikes. There is no need for these strikes to be called and the RMT is being completely unreasonable.”
Strike days have been announced for Saturday 24 August, Tuesday 3 September, Thursday 5 September, Monday 30 September, Wednesday 2 October and Friday 4 October.