Metro Mayors call for the RMT to postpone planned industrial action on intercity rail services

Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor for the Liverpool City Region and Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester have issued the following statement calling upon Northern and the RMT to enter into negotiations ahead of tomorrow’s planned industrial action on Northern rail services:

“On intercity rail services across Greater Manchester and Merseyside there are many rail stations that are unstaffed for all or part of the day and have poor levels of access for disabled people, older people and young families. That’s why we believe there is a strong case to keep a guard on our trains.

“It is true that rail services across the North of England are not all the same and inter-city services are different from intra-city, such as Merseyrail and Metrolink.  However, other parts of the UK have reached practical solutions on these long-standing issues and we believe it should be perfectly possible for the North of England to do the same.

“Ultimately, we cannot accept a situation of trains with no guard stopping at remote unstaffed stations, with accessibility challenges. That will only serve to further reduce public confidence in our failing rail services.

“That’s why, at last week’s Transport for the North Board meeting, we proposed a review, involving both the rail industry and the union, to develop a solution that is right for the North, recognising the particular characteristics of our rail network.

“It is disappointing that agreement could not be found on the terms of the review.

“Passengers here are already suffering from unacceptable levels of disruption caused by the emergency timetable. Some people are already under real pressure at work due to the failures of the rail industry and three days of industrial action this week could make their situation much worse.

“With that in mind, we today call on the RMT to reconsider their industrial action planned for later this week and, in return, we will continue to press for the establishment of a fair process to find a resolution.”

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