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Fresh strikes to hit Merseyrail train services

Union announces three more walkouts in September

Union bosses have announced there will be three more days of industrial action hitting Merseyrail trains services in September in an ongoing dispute over the company's plans to remove on-board guards from its trains.

Members of the RMT (Rail and Maritime Transport Workers) union will strike between 00:01am and 23:59pm on Friday, September 1 and from 00:01am on Sunday, September 3 until 23:59pm on Monday, September 4.

The bitter row follows the announcement that Merseyrail will be bringing in a new fleet of driver-controlled trains in 2020, the Liverpool Echo reports.

The RMT has accused Merseyrail of having a 'pig-headed attitude' and claimed it had turned down a union proposal to set up a 'safety working group', alongside outside safety bodies and the train manufacturer Stadler.

Computer generated images of how the new Merseyrail trains will look when they come into action in 2020

Talks between the union and the rail firm are understood to have stalled.

RMT General secretary Mick Cash said: “It is disgraceful that Merseyrail continue to refuse all reasonable attempts by the union to settle this dispute.

“Merseyrail have repeatedly kicked all conciliatory approaches by RMT negotiators back in our faces and made it crystal clear that all that they are interested in is the union signing a surrender document which gives them a free hand to rip apart the safety culture on the railway.

“It is that cynical and hostile stance from Merseyrail which has left us with no option but press ahead with a further three days of strike action.

“RMT recognises the severe impact that the action will have but we are dealing with an employer that refuses to listen or engage with the union on the critical issue of safe rail operation and we ask the public to understand that we have no option but to take this high-profile action to force the company back to the negotiating table.

“RMT is calling for genuine talks to take place around a safe and sustainable deal that protects the future safety across Merseyrail services. The company should take up that offer of further talks as a matter of urgency.”

Merseyrail has been approached for comment.

lt says affected staff members have been offered alternative roles on their current terms but the RMT says the positions are 'safety critical'.

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