17 February 2017
RMT Press Office
SOUTHERN RIP UP SAFETY RULE BOOK IN SCABBING DRIVE FOR NEXT WEEK'S STRIKE ACTION
RAIL UNION RMT revealed today that Southern GTR are looking to train up 40 scab strike breaking managers in 2 days of classroom talks to work as OBS on the next strike day of 22nd February. The union described the move as “kamikaze safety control” and has written to the regulator, the ORR, demanding that they intervene and stop it.
RMT says that this latest move is sending a terrifying message to other rail workers across the industry, that safety isn’t important and that private train companies can rip up the rule book and do what they like to suit their own methods and means.
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash says today in a letter to the rail safety regulator the ORR:
“I have been made aware that Southern GTR are in the process of throwing together up to 40 contingency staff to work trains as a second person during the proposed dispute day of Wednesday 22nd February by providing up to 40 volunteers, with a watered down 2 days in a class room training exercise.
This absolutely demonstrates the cultural safety style that this company operates in, a kamikaze mentality and by any means a desperate drive to thrash Health & Safety protocols and standards.
How or why they believe that they can produce a second person to work a train with just 2 days in a class room is a serious mis-understanding of their own managerial responsibilities in ensuring the safe working and passage of trains, it is beyond contempt that they are even attempting to undertake such an exercise, and I call on you Ian, as the figurehead of the regulator to intervene and remind Southern GTR management of their health and safety standards and responsibilities in relation to the management of health and safety in operating a safe railway.
At a time when we should be addressing, round the negotiation table joint initiatives to find agreement and solutions to the issues we face across the industry, we have an employer playing dangerous games, by their own words ‘deliberately’ intending to alter agreed roster patterns based on a reduced 2 day syllabus for press-ganged volunteers.
This is not the way to find agreement or common ground, and fly’s directly in the face of Charles Horton’s pretence that the OBS is ‘safety trained’. They are not with less than 2 days in a classroom, no on-site practical, assessment or opportunity for review.
Have Southern GTR made you aware of their strike busting proposals to introduce a even less safe way of working?
RMT will be bringing this matter to our members attention, along with the media and public, we will be closely monitoring the operation should you not intervene and we will write to you once again outlining our reports and images of what went wrong and the unprecedented manoeuvre by the company to further water down and breach Health & Safety standards within the railway industry.
The message this is sending to railway workers across the industry is terrifying.
I would request that you urgently intervene in this proposed Southern GTR situation and let me know of your investigation, observations and findings.”