Fire and Evacuation Systems at Leeds City Railway Station

Our Ref: HSR/2/14
Circular No: NP/008/20
15th January 2020

Dear Colleague


Our Leeds City Branch recently submitted a resolution to the National Executive Committee concerning an alarming situation that has developed at Leeds Railway Station. The resolution and report from the Branch raises ongoing and serious concerns with the state of the pre-war premises at Leeds which consist of largely windowless rooms and corridors. Some of these areas do not appear to be properly linked to the current fire warning and evacuation procedures but do rely on an efficient and effective fire and evacuation system for the safety of staff working in the station and for the travelling public.

Our representatives attended a fire evacuation exercise on 22nd December 2019 and were sufficiently concerned to raise their concerns over the failure of the exercise with Arriva Rail North management. It became apparent to our representatives that the fire evacuation system had been changed five years ago but that staff had not been advised of any changes. It was also clear that, while Arriva Rail North staff had evacuated safely, this was only because they had been forewarned of the test and had been escorted from the premises by a large host of BTP officers. Lots of other staff had been unaware of the test and not able to hear the alarms.

Our representatives called on their management to work with all other employers whose staff are called upon to work in Leeds Station to resolve the conflicts identified by RMT and to do so with necessary speed to protect the health and safety of staff and passengers alike. They also called on the evacuation test to be repeated as a matter of urgency. Combined with a lack of regular and up to date briefing for train crew staff this issue is of urgent concern.

No response has been received from management.

The National Executive Committee have considered the Leeds City Branch resolution and have carried the following resolution:

That we note and welcome the resolution from Leeds City Branch on file and the sentiments contained therein.

Noting the absolute disregard to our members safety.

We instruct the General Secretary to:

• Raise this matter as a matter of urgency directly with the Safety Directors(or equivalent) of network rail, and those of every employer whose employees are members of the RMT who work on Leeds City Station, namely those of ARN, LNER, Cross Country, TPE, EMR, ISS, Mitie, Atalia Servest select service partners, Carlisle, Rail Gourmet and all other retail concession holders on the station.

• Formally raise our concerns with the Safety Directorate of the Office of Rail and Road.

• Raise the matter with our parliamentary group,

• Finally, to publicise our concerns to broadcast printed and online media to the maximum possible extent.

Relevant Branches/Regional Councils to be advised.

Members of Leeds City Branch to be informed by text/email.

I am acting in accordance with this instruction and will continue to update you with developments in this matter. Please bring the contents to the attention of relevant members.

Yours sincerely

Mick Cash
General Secretary