On Thursday, from 11am, rail union RMT will be protesting outside the Netherlands embassy in London over the involvement of state-owned Dutch operator Abellio in plans to remove guards from trains operated by Merseyrail, of which Abellio owns fifty percent.
Dan Carden, who became Labour MP for Liverpool’s Walton constituency in the General Election, will be joining the RMT for the protest in solidarity with Merseyside’s rail-workers.
Carden, who protested alongside his docker dad as a child in 1987, told the SKWAWKBOX:
I back the campaign to keep a guard on every train on behalf of the traveling public across north Liverpool and beyond.
Merseyrail is part-owned by Abellio, who were able to reach agreement with the RMT to retain the guard on the train when introducing new trains for their franchise in Scotland.
The Welsh government has now given the same guarantee for a guard on every train.
It is therefore only fair that our services in the regions get the same benefits for passenger safety as elsewhere.
Merseyrail’s owners are driven solely by their desire for bigger profits, but if politicians and the public stand firm I believe they can be made to see sense and put their passengers before excessive profit-making. This is a fight we can win.
That’s why we will take our campaign to the Dutch Embassy this week. It simply can’t be right that the Dutch state railway – which boasts annual revenues of £1.4 billion on U.K. Operations – stands to profit further from reducing safety and security on our train services.
RMT North-West Regional Organiser John Tilley welcomed the news, telling this blog:
I’m absolutely delighted to hear that Dan’s joining us. Most of the Merseyside MPs back us, but seeing one of our MPs protesting with us will be a great boost for everyone. They’re doing Labour proud, which is sadly more than can be said for the Labour councillors who are supporting Merseyrail’s move to driver-only operation to increase profits at the expense of passenger safety and our members.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell have a long and honourable history of protest for the right causes, in stark contrast to the anti-union bent of Tony Blair and the unwillingness of Corbyn’s predecessor Ed Miliband to identify with workers fighting for justice and fair treatment. It’s good to see Labour MPs unabashedly following standing with working people.
If you can join Dan and the RMT protesters on Thursday, even if only for a little while, do get along to show your support and boost their morale.
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