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Merseyrail RMT workers to strike next month against driver-only trains

Union announced its members voted 'overwhelmingly' in favour of industrial action

Merseyrail workers will strike against the introduction of driver-only trains.

The RMT union said its members had voted ‘overwhelmingly’ in favour of industrial action.

A day of strike action has been set for March 13.

Merseyrail operates the Wirral Line which runs from Chester and Ellesmere Port to Liverpool

They had planned to introduce a new £460m driver-only train fleet by 2021.

These are the trains which will be running between Chester and Liverpool within the next five years

RMT General secretary Mick Cash said the ballot shows the union is ‘prepared to stand up and fight for public safety’.

He said: “The union’s position on Driver Only Operation is perfectly clear.

“We will not agree to any introduction of DOO and will fight to retain the safety critical role of the guard and to keep a guard on the train.

“It is the failure of Merseyrail to give guarantees on those basic principles that has led to the current dispute and the campaign of industrial action.”

Merseyrail lines are currently disrupted due to an ongoing incident

More than 80% of RMT members voted in favour of a strike.

Swiss manufacturer Stadler recently signed a deal to build and maintain the 52-strong modern train fleet.

Merseyrail had planned to create 60 on-board customer service roles but 220 guard jobs would be lost.

Instead the trains would be covered by CCTV which will broadcast images within the train saloon and to the driver and control room.

The RMT added its members will not be working any rest days from March 7 onwards.

How the new Merseyrail trains could look on the inside

Mr Cash added: “This dispute was entirely preventable if the company had listened to the union's deep-seated safety concerns, had taken them seriously and had put passenger safety before profit.

“The blame for the industrial action, and the disruption it will cause, lies solely at the door of Merseyrail.

“The union remains available for meaningful talks and we would expect Merseyrail to take up that offer as a matter of urgency.”

A similar dispute between Southern Rail and the RMT has seen multiple days of industrial action already take place.

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