5 January 2018
RMT Press Office:
RMT confirms that strike action goes ahead as planned next week in separate disputes over rail safety.
RAIL UNION RMT today confirmed that strike action goes ahead exactly as planned next week in separate disputes with train operating companies across the UK over attacks on the role of the safety-critical guard and the extension of Driver Only Operation in the name of increased profits.
Members on Northern, Merseyrail, Greater Anglia, South Western Railways and Island Line have been instructed to take action as follows:
Not to book on for any shifts between 00.01 hours and 23.59 hours on the 8th, 10th and 12th January 2018
Members on Southern have been instructed to take action as follows:
Not to book on for any shifts between 00.01 hours and 23.59 hours on the 8th January 2018
This week RMT has met with both Northern Rail and South Western Railways in a last ditch effort to broker a solution in those disputes. Northern refused to enter into anything like genuine and meaningful talks as they lumped on the ludicrous pre-condition that the union must bend to their demand to run nearly half a million trains a year driver only.
South Western Railway have reneged on a suggested guarantee of a second safety-critical person on their trains in public statements which turned out to be no guarantee at all and was merely a PR spin for their real objective which is to have a free hand to run as many trains as they decide with just a driver on board, regardless of the risks to the travelling public.
Merseyrail, Greater Anglia and Southern Rail have refused to engage with the union in further talks.
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:
“Every single effort that RMT has made to reach negotiated settlements in these separate disputes with the different train operating companies over safe operation and safe staffing has been kicked back in our faces and we are left with no option but to press ahead with the action exactly as planned. No one should be in any doubt, these disputes are about putting the safety of the travelling public before the profits of the private train companies
“It is frankly ludicrous that we have been able to negotiate long-term arrangements in Scotland and Wales that protect the guards and passenger safety but we are being denied the same opportunities with rail companies in England. This suspension of normal industrial relations by the employers has to end if we are to make progress towards a solution that guarantees safe rail travel for all.
“RMT is in no doubt that it is the dead hand of the minority Tory Government that is interfering in these disputes and that their influence is a factor in preventing the union from reaching negotiated settlements. With the fare increases kicking in this week it is outrageous that Theresa May and Chris Grayling are happy to stand aside and cheer on overseas rail companies that rip-off the British passenger with eye-watering far increases to subsidise their domestic transport operations while throwing the guards off our trains.
“RMT is demanding that the blockade on talks is lifted in these separate disputes to allow us to negotiate freely with the companies and give us the opportunity to pursue the objective of a guard guarantee that puts British passenger safety before the rank exploitation of our rail network by fare-jacking private companies who are laughing all the way to the bank. If it’s good enough for Wales and Scotland to put safety first then it’s good enough for the rest of the UK.
“RMT stands ready for talks in each of these separate disputes.”