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Talks between the RMT (Rail, Maritime and Transport) union and rail transport operators have broken down once again, with staff set to strike on Saturday April 8th.
Merseyrail routes will all be affected, which is the day of Grand National and where football matches are scheduled across every major league in the country.
The dispute continues over driver-only-operated trains. The RMT have said that Merseyrail are intent on “collapsing” negotiations and are refusing “serious or meaningful” talks, as well as accusing the operator of having “no safety validation” for the change in operation.
The pinnacle of the argument is in the removal of guards or conductors from trains, instead leaving drivers responsible for dispatching the train at each station.
RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “The blame for collapsing today’s crucial talk lies firmly and squarely with Merseyrail who appear to have no interest whatsoever in discussing the core issues at the heart of this dispute. Merseyrail’s intransigence and determination to bring in DOO trains at all costs, sees the dispute continue and RMT’s executive will now consider a report from our regional officer and the next steps in our industrial, political and public campaign.”
“I don’t know why the RMT agreed to our invitation to come in and talk today, unless it was to maintain appearances,” said Merseyrail managing director Jan Chaudhry-van der Velde. He also said that t union leaders “wouldn’t discuss any of the items we put forward, including the guarantee of continued employment for the existing guards on the same salaries as now, salaries which start at £28,000”.
RMT also confirmed yesterday that it had written to Arriva Rail North, the company responsible for Northern, demanding an urgent date to be set to resolve the DOO dispute with them.
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Author Lex Barber
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