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Downtown in Business boss, Frank McKenna has condemned the decision of the RMT Union to stage a series of rail strikes across Merseyside. Frank says that the industrial action is totally unjustified and is being motivated by the election for the unions General Secretary role rather than any genuine dispute between Liverpool railway staff and Mersey Travel.

Mr. McKenna said:

“There were concerns raised, from both the union and the travelling public, that the new fleet that is being introduced onto Mersey Rail routes in the Autumn would not require Guards.

“Those concerns have been acknowledged and resolved by the employer side at a not inconsiderable cost to the transport authorities.

“I understand that the proposed arrangements made by Mersey Travel were acceptable to the Liverpool workforce, but have been rebuffed by the RMTs National Executive Committee. They have moved the goalposts not because they are concerned about commuter safety, or even the future job security of their members. They are forcing a dispute, in my opinion, because the leadership is trying to outbid challengers in the current General Secretary ballot in the contest to show who is more militant

“Mersey Rail are set to introduce state-of-the-art trains next year, replacing the current fleet which is forty years old. The trains will be publicly and locally owned and the investment in the new stock is in the region of £460m. We should be celebrating this tremendous initiative, but instead the internal national politics of a Trade Union is taking the shine off a truly innovative project.

The Downtown boss concluded:

“Aside from the fact that the action is unjustified, we must also express concern that though this dispute is being actioned by London-based decision-makers it is Liverpool and the city’s citizens, business community and reputation that is taking a huge hit. It is a disgrace and I hope the union has the sense to call off these damaging strikes.”