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TUSC backs RMT Save Our Guards campaign, while local Labour Party blocks debate
The RMT transport workers' union has made a direct appeal to Steve Rotheram MP, the Labour candidate in the Mersyside 'metro-mayor' contest, to guarantee that there will be a second safety-critical crew member aboard every Merseyrail train if he wins the election on 4 May.
Pointing out that "the travelling public are behind our campaign", Mick Cash, the RMT general secretary, said that "now is the ideal moment for Steve to say he is with all sections of the community that use the rail network, who overwhelmingly want a guard on every train."
The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) candidate Roger Bannister, a former member of public sector union Unison's national executive council, welcomed the RMT's call: "Merseyside TUSC has been pursuing Steve Rotheram ever since he was selected as Labour's candidate to find out where he stood on the RMT's Save Our Guards campaign.
"As Mick Cash has said, Steve Rotheram has the opportunity to show that he is on the side of Merseyside's traveling public. The truth is that Liverpool Labour could stop the introduction of driver-only operation on Merseyrail now, but instead they are pushing it through and Steve Rotheram has still not said where he stands."
Meanwhile a recent meeting of the Garston and Halewood Constituency Labour Party was blocked from voting on a resolution that supported the RMT's Save Our Guards campaign.
The meeting on 31 March heard from an RMT official about the importance of guards to passenger safety. But according to social media reports, when it came to agreeing a resolution of support, the chair ruled it was "against Labour policy and might damage Steve Rotheram's campaign!"
- Public meeting: Come to the TUSC pre-election public meeting on 2 May, 7.30pm, the Liverpool Pub, 14 James Street, Liverpool L2 7PQ