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Strike FAQs

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The RMT union, which represents many guards on our network, is currently in dispute with Merseyrail in relation to on-board staffing arrangements on the new fleet, set to be introduced on the network in 2020. 

This section is designed to inform you about the dispute, providing background information and practical advice.

Will there be further strikes on Merseyrail?

To date, we have not received notification from the RMT union of any further strikes on the network.

What are you doing to resolve the dispute?

Merseyrail is always open to constructive dialogue with the RMT, and the two organisations have held several meetings over the last few months. Merseyrail is keen to find some middle ground, proposing the idea of a second person on every train after 8pm in the last meeting. Unfortunately, the RMT was not prepared to negotiate and rejected this offer. Despite that, we remain committed to resolving the dispute and are keen to get back around the table with our union colleagues. 

How many strikes have been held on Merseyrail?

There have been five strikes so far. These took place on 13 March, 8 April, 8, 10 and 23 July. 8 April was Grand National day at Aintree and 23 July was the last day of The Open golf championship at Royal Birkdale. 

Why have guards been striking?

It’s related to on-board staffing arrangements on the new trains, which will enter service in 2020 and replace the current fleet.

The new trains will have some of the most advanced and innovative safety features seen in the UK, and will be faster, more comfortable and more spacious.

Drivers, not guards, will be responsible for opening and closing doors on the new trains, which is already common in the UK and across the world. It is standard practice on the London Underground, Manchester Metrolink and Tyne & Wear Metro.

The new trains will no longer need guards, although around sixty on-board customer service positions will be created. With passenger safety and security our number one priority, the on-board teams will work on the new trains at key locations and times to assist and reassure our customers.

The RMT union, representing many Merseyrail guards, doesn’t support these changes. 

What will happen to guards when their jobs no longer exist?

Subject to successful negotiations with the unions, 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.

Do you expect further strikes on the network?

We believe that it is possible that there will be more strikes, yes.

How did you run trains on strike days without guards?

As part of our contingency planning, we have trained managers to act as guards, and it was these managers that worked as guards on the strikes that have taken place. 

Were drivers on strike?

No, but they did not cross picket-lines on strike days, so driver managers drove trains. 

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?

Yes, it is possible that future strikes go on for longer than 24 hours.

Did you offer compensation to passengers on strike days?

As a gesture of goodwill, Merseyrail gave a voucher to passengers who had bought certain tickets valid on strikes days before the dates were announced. You can find information about this by contacting the Merseyrail customer relations team

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