‘A nightmare’ - chaos for commuters as RMT train strikes and Arriva bus strikes grip Liverpool

Railway staff across the North West have announced further walk out dates in August, while bus workers in the region are on continuous strike.
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Railway workers in Liverpool are part of a huge national strike in a dispute over pay, jobs and health and safety.

Around 40,000 members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport Union (RMT) at Network Rail and 14 train operators walked out on Wednesday with millions of passengers suffering disruption.

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The industrial action ‘severely’ affected services at Liverpool Lime Street and on Merseyrail routes; the RMT has announced further strike dates in August.

Coupled with the ongoing Arriva bus strikes in the city, it’s commuter chaos for the people of Liverpool.

There are currently no Arriva bus services operating in Merseyside, with the exception of the Clatterbridge Hospital shuttle service, after 1,800 drivers and staff began continuous industrial action in a dispute over pay.

Commuters in Liverpool have largely backed the strikes, but have attitudes changed as they continue to impact on our lives?

‘Bit of a nightmare really’

Anthony gives us his thoughts on the strikesAnthony gives us his thoughts on the strikes
Anthony gives us his thoughts on the strikes
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Anthony said: "Bit of a nightmare really because tomorrow I've got to be somewhere that would normally take 40 minutes by Arriva bus, but I've got to take two separate buses, and it's going to take me nearly two hours."

‘I am disgusted with it’

Francesca gives us her thoughts on the strikesFrancesca gives us her thoughts on the strikes
Francesca gives us her thoughts on the strikes

Francesca said: "My daughter-in-law is supposed to be meeting us today to have a meal because it's my birthday, but she can't get here because of the buses and the trains. I am disgusted with it really."

‘Good luck to them’

Pam gives us her thoughts on the strikesPam gives us her thoughts on the strikes
Pam gives us her thoughts on the strikes

Pam said: "I can understand how they feel. The cost of living has shot up. So you know, good luck to them."

What unions and political leaders have said

The RMT have advised that additional strike action will take place on Thursday 18 August and Saturday 20 August, while the Mayor of Liverpool, Joanne Anderson, has backed Arriva workers.

The picket line outside Liverpool Lime Street station (Photo: PA)The picket line outside Liverpool Lime Street station (Photo: PA)
The picket line outside Liverpool Lime Street station (Photo: PA)
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RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: "Network Rail have not made any improvement on their previous pay offer, and the Train Companies have not offered us anything new.

"In fact, Network Rail have upped the ante threatening to impose compulsory redundancies and unsafe 50% cuts to maintenance work if we did not withdraw our planned strike action."

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: "Union bosses will claim they're willing to do a deal, but how can anyone take them seriously when, earlier this month, the RMT dismissed a Network Rail offer worth 8% over the next two years without even consulting their members."

Mayor Anderson has written to Arriva chief executive Mike Cooper and criticised the "pitifully low pay increase" offered to workers. Posting the letter on Twitter, she said: "I stand in solidarity with bus workers demanding better working conditions and fairer pay."

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The company provides two-thirds of the bus services which operate in Liverpool.

Howard Farrall, North West & Wales area operating director for Arriva, commented: "We've put on the table a very generous increase for bus drivers at 8.5% – which is higher than most workers in either the public or private sector are receiving in these difficult economic times.

“But any pay rises must be affordable to protect jobs and ensure that bus networks are sustainable when Government funding support finishes in the autumn."

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