RMT calls for identification of rail sewage dumping hotspots

RMT calls for identification of rail sewage dumping hotspots

24 November 2014

RMT Press Office

RAIL UNION RMT has now received a formal response from Transport Scotland to the unions demands to bring forward the target date for the ending of the filthy and disgusting practice of dumping raw sewage onto Scotland’s railway tracks.

In discussions with both Transport Scotland and Network Rail in recent weeks, RMT officials issued a call for both organisations to put pressure on Scotrail’s new operators, Abellio, to bring forward the proposed date for the fitting of retention tanks across the fleet from December 2017 to April 2016 to eradicate this scandal.

In the letter (attached) , TS have confirmed that they are sticking to their current timetable but have agreed to union demands to work towards mitigating the impact on both staff and the environment in the meantime. However, those pledges are vague and RMT is pushing TS and NR to work with the union to identify the sewage dumping hotspots to enable Health and Safety evaluations to be carried out and protective measures to be put in place.

The high profile RMT campaign on the sewage scandal is clearly forcing the pace and will now be stepped up. The franchise documentation talked of 2020 as the target date for ending the dumping of effluent. Since then, following the campaign of political and public pressure organised by RMT, the Transport Minister has moved that date to December 2017 but RMT believes that April 2016 is an achievable target and would represent significant further progress. RMT will continue to push for the date to be brought forward.

The next phase of the campaign will involve RMT members across Scotland handing out thousands of leaflets demanding the earliest possible end to the disgusting and dangerous practice.

RMT has made it clear that the union does not rule out an industrial response to bring a halt to the discharge of human waste onto the tracks if there is any dragging of heels.

RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said ;

"It is clear in the response from Transport Scotland that they are being forced to address RMT's demands but we want more detail on what they intend to do and the union still believes that swifter action is perfectly achievable. RMT wants to know exactly what TS means by identifying "co-ordinates" and putting safety measures in place to protect staff. If that means identifying the sewage hotspots then that has been a core RMT demand of this issue, not just in Scotland but across the whole of Britain, and we should be getting on with it now.

“RMT has already made significant progress in bringing forward the date when the scandal of dumping raw sewage on Scotland’s railway tracks is brought to an end. However, the union believes that April 2016 is a perfectly realistic and achievable target for halting this filthy and disgusting practice. Abellio are set to make a fortune out of the Scotrail franchise and the very least they should be forced to do is to dip in their pockets and retro-fit the retention tanks.

“This union intends to keep the pressure on Transport Scotland and their franchise holders for the earliest possible end to this scandal on Scotland’s railways and that is why we are stepping up our campaign RMT has said all along that if it was wealthy bankers getting sprayed with sewage rather than rail workers then this scandal would be ended overnight. RMT’s campaign goes on.”


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Tagged with: transport scotland, network rail, sewage