Merseyrail picket line, photo RMT

Merseyrail picket line, photo RMT   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

A demonstration called by the transport union RMT took place outside Liverpool Town Hall ahead of a meeting of Merseyrail stakeholders on 25 January to show the incredible public support in favour of keeping the guards on Merseyrail trains.

The meeting was attended by the stakeholders, which include Liverpool councillors and Merseyrail executives, who were greeted by over 50 demonstrators and chants of ‘keep the guards on the trains’ and ‘say no to DOO’ (driver-only operation).

Abellio, one of the private companies involved with Merseyrail, recently lost a similar dispute and conceded to having guards on trains on the Scotrail franchise and the Greater Anglia franchise.

Despite a survey conducted by the RMT showing that 78% of passengers, 84% of female passengers and 85% of over 55s feel more comfortable with guards on the train, Merseyrail still hope to remove the guards.

The scheme to get rid of the guards is no more than an attempt to increase profits at the cost of jobs and passenger safety, which the public can easily see through.

The cutting of the guards comes after a year that saw Merseyrail make a profit in excess of £12 million and a quarter of passengers’ fares end up in the pockets of privateers Serco and Abellio.

The Socialist Party fully supports keeping the guards on trains to save jobs and increase passenger safety, as well as the nationalisation of the railways to prevent fares being used to line the pockets of bosses instead of improving services.

Mike Long, Liverpool Socialist Party