RAIL workers in Merseyside are on strike today as the dispute over driver-only operated (DOO) trains continues to spread across Britain.
The operators of publicly funded Merseyrail are pressing ahead with plans to remove guards from trains, leaving the driver with sole responsibility for the safety of passengers.
Merseyrail workers began a 48-hour walkout on Sunday to fight plans for a new fleet of DOO trains.
The RMT union said the action received “solid” support from its members.
Also on strike today over the same issue are workers on Southern and Northern trains.
The union is also balloting workers on the new South Western Railway franchise for industrial action after saying it has not received assurances about the role of guards.
RMT is calling for the Department for Transport (DfT) to join talks about staffing arrangements on new trains.
General secretary Mick Cash said: “Politicians on Merseyside have no mandate for driver-only trains.
“They need to make a clear decision. Are they on the side of the safety-critical guards and the travelling public or are they on the side of the rip-off private rail companies?”
RMT said the guards are crucial to passenger safety and have performed vital functions, including leading passengers to safety after accidents such as derailments and collisions on level crossings.
The union added that guards have also dealt with unruly and inebriated passengers, in one instance protecting a woman from a sexual assault by a fellow passenger.