21 June 2016
RMT Press Office:
RMT calls for Parliamentary inquiry as leak shows that Rail Minister's officials are ordering GTR rail cancellations.
New information supplied to the RMT has revealed that Civil Servants at the Department for Transport are authorising train cancellations on GTR. The shocking news comes on the day that guards strike over jobs and safety on Southern and confirms suspicions that the chaos on the GTR franchise is being deliberately orchestrated as part of a policy to blame the staff and bulldoze through cuts to jobs and safety.
The revelations raises important questions as to how many train cancellations Civil Servants are involved in and whether the cancellations are being decided on a political basis.
The leak also raises questions as to how the government can impartially impose penalties for poor performance when it is providing authorisation on the day to day running of rail services and comes days after it was revealed that GTR have only been fined £2million by the government for poor performance since the start of the franchise.
The following is a request for a decision from a senior management level at GTR on two options on what services should be cancelled :
“Following the meeting on Monday 6th June 2016 for SX service reduction in connection of traincrew shortfall, summary as follows without Milton Keynes services and with Clapham Junction - Watford - Clapham Junction shuttle service.
A .WITHOUT MILTON KEYNES SERVICES AND EAST AND WEST COASTWAY SERVICES DRASTICALLY REDUCED
Total of 192 cancelled services
B.WITH CLAPHAM JUNCTION - WATFORD - CLAPHAM JUNCTION SHUTTLE AND EAST AND WEST COASTWAY SERVICES DRASTICALLY REDUCED
Total of 148 cancelled services
The shuttle service to Watford seems to be too costly to run when trying to reduce diagram numbers if possible I need to know ASAP if it is the need to implement the plan A or B .”
The following is the response from another layer GTR of management,
“I had the call with DFT [ Department for Transport] today, this mail is not permission to proceed and implement the plan but we should proceed with working up option A. The department are supportive of the principle but need more information before approving.
I will need a description … to describe the reductions, the customer impact and alternative arrangements eg MK no service - VT and LM for MK services and the arrangements for last trains.
This was followed by
“although this is not a definitive answer that we will put in a planned timetable change, the DfT has asked us to complete the plan for 194 trains to be removed so they can review it. It is sounding positive though and over the next week or so when the plan is complete, we will go back to the DfT to review it.”
The details of this correspondence have been leaked in confidence.
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said;
“The Government are up to their necks in the chaos on Southern and not only are they turning a blind eye to the abysmal service being offered to the public, this leaked correspondence shows that they are directly orchestrating it. That can only be because they have a wider agenda to force confrontation and chaos on these routes as part of some scam to blame the staff, bulldoze through cuts to jobs and safety and break the unions. Passengers are caught in the middle of this scandal and there needs to be a full Parliamentary inquiry.
"RMT's dispute is not with the passengers who suffer the daily misery of incompetence, arrogance and racketeering on the Southern rail routes. Our dispute is with the company who, with the connivance of the Government, have declared war on passengers and staff alike.
"RMT knows that when Southern talk about "changing the role of the guard" what they really mean is axing the guards all together as they put their profits above public safety. The company refuse point blank to discuss this fundamental issue and that is why we have no option but to strike again. If we didn't we would be giving Southern a green light to bulldoze through changes that would be catastrophic for safety at the Platform/Train interface.
"RMT regrets the further inconvenience to passengers that the action today will cause on this basket-case franchise that shames Britain's railways. Our message to passengers is that our fight is your fight and that the battle for our jobs today is to protect your safety tomorrow. If we stand together we can defeat this company and its attacks on jobs, services and safety. "