MERSEYRAIL RMT union members have announced that they are to go on strike on every Saturday in November and December, which would cause disruption during the Christmas period.
The nine 24-hour walkouts are over the long-running dispute over train guards.
The strikes will be held on November 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30 and December 7, 14, 21 and 28. Overtime for RMT members has also been banned from November 3.
RMT has commented that a deal has been blocked by the local authority due to costs.
Merseyrail has responded by saying, this was “disappointing given that there is now a guarantee of a guard on every new train with a safety critical role and that we were so close to an agreement to end this dispute.”
The disagreement is about the new driver-only operated Merseyrail trains fleet, which will be launched in 2021. On these trains drivers close the doors instead of guards.
RMT general secretary Mick Cash has said he is “greatly frustrated” that members have been “forced” to take strike action again on Merseyrail when an agreement was “so close.”
Following news that the RMT has announced further strikes on the Merseyrail network every Saturday from November 2 to December 28 inclusive, a Merseyrail spokesperson said: “We are extremely disappointed that the recent exploratory technical workshops between the RMT, ourselves and Merseytravel have resulted in the announcement of further strike action.
“It is especially disappointing given that there is now a guarantee of a guard on every new train with a safety critical role and that we were so close to an agreement to end this dispute.
“Our priority now is to run the best possible service on the upcoming strike days and communicate the arrangements with our passengers as soon as possible.”