After 16-strike days and 18 months of dispute, the union and company have agreed on a deal that sees Merseyrail scrap plans for driver only trains. There will be a second member of staff on every train, a detail that is critical to public safety according to RMT. However, the decisions may cause price rises.
The union has hailed it as “an important and significant development”.
The new fleet of Merseyrail trains that were planned to go into operation in 2021 were designed to be operated by only drivers, without guards.
The RMT union held a series of strikes as its campaign to keep guards won wide public support. But the strikes were suspended while all sides went to conciliation service ACAS.
No-one currently employed as a guard will lose their jobs but a final deal has not been reached. The responsibilities of the second staff member on each train is yet to be agreed but there will be no further industrial action will talks continue.
RMT general secretary Mick Cash said:
“Today’s agreement in principle is an important and significant development in respect of RMT’s long running campaign to retain a guaranteed second, safety-critical member of staff on Merseyrail trains.
RMT is committed to keeping guards on trains on all operators, a goal that has drawn support from significant Labour politicians
While @merseyrail are the latest operator to accept the guard guarantee, other rail firms still refuse to negotiate. This morning I joined @RMTunion members calling on Northern Rail to make the same commitment. The fight to #KeepTheGuardOnTheTrain goes on across our rail network. pic.twitter.com/6iA2AqbIoB
— Dan Carden MP (@DanCardenMP) September 1, 2018
Carden, who is in the Shadow Cabinet stated:
“The guard on the train is a key element to their (the public’s) security, passenger safety and accessibility”