Merseyrail strikes: Talks to avert strike action end without agreement

Image of the new train Image copyright Merseytravel
Image caption The new fleet of driver-only operated trains are due to be in place by 2020

Talks to avoid fresh strikes by Merseyrail workers over driver-only operated trains have ended without agreement.

Members of the RMT union staged a 24-hour walkout on 13 March over plans for driver-only operated trains in 2020.

The union, which says it wants to keep guards on trains for public safety, said new strikes were "inevitable".

Merseyrail said it wanted the RMT to back the decision for the "safer" operating system.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Hunts Cross station near Liverpool was quiet during rush hour on the day of the strike

Merseyrail managing director Jan Chaudhry-van der Velde said he wanted to avert strikes which would be "damaging" to customers and the economy, particularly during next month's Grand National, when, he said, the "eyes of the world will be on Liverpool".

Coinciding a strike with the race meeting would be "detrimental to the city region's reputation" he said, adding he "sincerely" hoped the RMT would not consider striking then.

Image caption Merseyrail said it had run a "much reduced" service

The RMT's John Tilley said: "We've given it our best shot today to talk about how we can move forward but it takes two to tango.

"The only thing they want to talk to us about is redundancy payments, redeployment and retraining."

Up to 2,000 union members from Merseyrail, Northern and Southern rail took part in the strikes on 13 March and some drivers chose not to cross picket lines.

RMT members on Southern rail network are to stage another strike on 4 April.

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