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Merseyrail staff set to strike as driver-only trains dispute reignites

Merseyrail train Image copyright Merseytravel
Image caption The dispute relates to the role of guards on Merseyrail's new fleet for 2021

Workers on Merseyrail are to stage fresh strikes after the long-running dispute over guards on its new fleet of trains flared up again.

RMT union members will walk out for 24 hours on six dates from the end of August.

The union said 15 months of negotiations with Merseyrail at Acas had failed to resolve the row.

Strike action had been halted after the rail firm agreed "in principle" to a second staff member on its new trains.

The dispute relates to the launch of the new driver-only operated Merseyrail trains fleet in 2021.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said its members feel "so strongly" proposals for the new trains were a "less safe option".

'Disappointing'

He said they were prepared to go back to the picket lines and "demand an operational role that applies to all Merseyrail stations that the new trains call at".

"Crucially the train drivers take the same view that the guard should be responsible for the safe dispatch of the train as they are now," he added.

"It is these very guards and drivers that operate the trains day in and day out and if they are saying that they can't accept the proposed method of operation then they must be listened to."

A spokesman for Merseyrail said: "Until we receive formal confirmation from the RMT that it is intending to take strike action we are not making a full statement.

"However, if it is true, it is very disappointing."

The strikes are set to be staged on 24 August, 3 September, 5 September, 30 September and 2 and 4 October.

Merseyrail was one of several train operators embroiled in the guards dispute, which has led to a series of strikes.

Strikes were held recently by union members on South Western Railway in the same dispute.

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