Mersey TUSC candidates take up the fight to keep the guards on our trains
The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) has announced that it will be standing candidates in this year's local elections against two members of the Liverpool City Region Transport Authority, responsible for trying to push safety-critical guards off the trains on Merseyrail.
The representatives from Halton and Liverpool councils on the transport committee are seeking re-election as councillors on May 3rd. But this time they will be challenged by TUSC candidates Stephen Armstrong, a Unite union workplace rep, and Ann Walsh, the former chair of the Merseyside Pensioners Association, who are committed to backing the RMT transport union's campaign to keep the guards on the trains.
Merseyrail plans to introduce Driver Only Operation (DOO) on the new stock that will come into service by 2020. The Merseyrail franchise is under the control of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, led by the Labour Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram and councillors from Merseyside's six Labour-led councils.
As the RMT general secretary Mick Cash recently said, on the first anniversary of the Merseyrail guards' dispute: "It's time for Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram and the leaders of the six councils to call a halt to this madness. There is no reason why they cannot instruct Merseyrail to put a second safety-critical member of staff on all of the new trains...
"On the first anniversary of the RMT dispute it's now time for the politicians to either listen to the people they claim to represent or stand down". (RMT Press Release, 13th March 2018)
The two right-wing Labour councillors seeking re-election have completely ignored Jeremy Corbyn's public support for the guards. And unfortunately they haven't stood down. But they certainly won't go unchallenged in the ballot box on May 3rd!
Also standing as TUSC candidates on Merseyside are Warwick Roberts, a Merseyrail RMT Local Level rep, and the former UNISON NEC member Roger Bannister, who stood as the TUSC candidate for Metro Mayor in May last year polling 7,881 votes.