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30 April 2018
RMT Press Office:
RMT calls for halt to axing of guards as new group launched today on rail accessibility
Rail union RMT today issued a fresh call for a halt to the axing of guards on Britain’s trains as the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) announced that it will create an advisory group to support work on potential updates to the guidance the rail industry uses to form accessibility policies.
The union says that whilst an advisory group is useful its work would be compromised by the removal of the guards and station staff and RMT is calling on the ORR to immediately heed the actual responses to its question asking “Would a cross-industry protocol overcome the difficulties experienced by Assisted Travel users?”
The report states:
“Respondents reinforced that the reliability of passenger assistance falls below passenger expectations. The largest volume of responses on this point belonged to the campaign to safeguard the role of the guard, supported by the response from RMT, which accompanied calls from passengers for more staff at stations”.
RMT is calling on the ORR to refuse to sign off any more Train Operating Companies Disabled Peoples Protection Policies which result in the loss of safety critical staff on trains – the very staff who ensure access is guaranteed for all and especially at unstaffed stations.
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said;
“With 843 organisations, campaign groups and individuals responding alongside the RMT to this consultation it shows just how important the issue of accessibility on the railway is to so many people.
“If the ORR are genuinely committed to a vision “ to empower confident use of the railway by all” then they must act to ensure that disabled people have the guarantee of a second, safety-critical member of staff on board our trains.
“The ORR are right to point out this is not simply about making sure they meet the law but that “the commitment to accessibility is wider than this narrow remit”. Everyone therefore owes it to this and future generations to stop the dangerous nonsense of removing safety critical staff from our trains and stations”.