22 February 2016
RMT Press Office:
RMT slams senior civil servant for "punch up" outburst over rail staff fighting for jobs and safety.
RAIL UNION RMT today demanded an immediate retraction of comments made by an official at the Department for Transport at a Tory Party meeting threatening rail staff who resist attacks on jobs, working conditions to "get the hell out of my industry".
A SENIOR official at the Department for Transport says train drivers who resist changes to their working hours can "get the hell out of my industry". Peter Wilkinson, managing director of passenger services, told a public meeting in Croydon there will be "punch ups" with drivers when the Government changes their working hours to improve rail services.
Reports in the Croydon Advertiser today reveal that Peter Wilkinson, managing director of passenger services, told a public meeting in Croydon there will be "punch ups" with drivers when the Government changes their working hours to improve rail services.
The Croydon Advertiser reports the following from the senior civil servant:
"Over the next three years were going to be having punch ups and we will see industrial action and I want your support," Mr Wilkinson told residents in Croydon Town Hall last Thursday during a meeting organised by Croydon Central MP Gavin Barwell.
Mr Wilkinson said train drivers are paid high salaries of about £60,000 a year or more to work three days a week, with no obligation to work on Sundays. He told the meeting drivers still have the same 'fire break' rest stops as they did when trains were run on coal.
"I'm furious about it and it has got to change - we have got to break them," he said.
"They have all borrowed money to buy cars and got credit cards.
"They can't afford to spend too long on strike and I will push them into that place.
"They will have to decide if they want to give a good service or get the hell out of my industry."
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:
“Rail staff will be disgusted that a senior civil servant, paid from the public purse, has rocked up at a meeting organised by a Tory MP to launch a threatening and abusive assault on trade union members fighting to stop attacks on staffing levels, services and passenger safety. These are disgraceful and inflammatory comments and RMT is demanding that they be retracted.
“The people responsible for the chaos on Southern Rail services are not the hard-working rail workers, it’s the greedy private companies with their profiteering and cuts led agenda who are now planning to butcher the ticket offices and station facilities and sack the guards from their trains.
“RMT will take no lectures from the likes of Mr Wilkinson and the union will be stepping up the fight for a reversal of the cuts, decent staffing levels and a return to public ownership.”