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Business community calls for an end to rail dispute

Businesses in the Liverpool City Region are calling for an end to the rail dispute which has caused disruption across the local network.

Liverpool and Sefton Chamber boss Jenny Stewart, along with a host of business leaders from the region, has signed an open letter to Merseyrail and the RMT to request a speedy resolution to the conflict.

The strike action from Merseyrail employees is a response to the on-board staffing arrangements on the firm’s £460 million new fleet of trains, due to be deployed by the end of 2020.

Their most recent protest was timed to coincide with the Grand National and a third strike is set to take place this month.

The open letter reads: “The dispute related to these concerns has already caused serious disruption on two occasions, with two days of strikes having already taken place. The second was timed to coincide with Grand National day, when the eyes of the UK were on Merseyside, which was a real disappointment.

“It is even more disappointing that a third strike date has now been announced which will do further damage to our economy and create yet further inconvenience for shoppers and people getting to work.

“In the interests of local people and local business, we urge all parties to get back around the negotiating table to find a resolution and bring this dispute to a swift conclusion.”

The open letter was also signed by John Hall, chairman of Professional Liverpool; Damien Waters, director of CBI North West; Chris Bliss, estate director at Liverpool ONE; and Bill Addy of The Liverpool BID Company.