23 August 2021
RMT Press Office:
RMT declares dispute over Legionella outbreak on Thameslink trains.
RAIL UNION RMT said today that it has declared a dispute over a potentially lethal Legionella outbreak on Thameslink trains and is prepared to ballot for strike action if GTR and Siemens don't take urgent action to resolve the crisis.
To date 7 toilets, on 4 trains have had identified actionable traces of legionella. The fourth unit was discovered on August 9th and the company advise they are removing it from traffic where 'reasonably practicable' and if it remains in service all that will happen is that the toilets will be isolated. RMT has described this half hearted and inadequate approach as gambling with the health of passengers and staff alike.
RMT's executive had met and the General Secretary has instructed to:
• Write to the company advising that a dispute situation now exists between our organisations.
• Demand an urgent Joint Safety Committee meeting be arranged to discuss the legionella contamination, the company response and its responsibilities under procedure agreement 2 and the associated codes of practice and regulations.
• Demand full disclosure, including live updates of the unit numbers of any units found to contain Legionella.
• Distribute the report from our Health and Safety Department to our Health and Safety Reps.
RMT General Secretary Mick Lynch said;
"RMT has been raising concerns over Legionella on the Siemens Thameslink fleet for weeks now and the latest cavalier approach from the company is pitifully inadequate and is an outright gamble with passenger and staff health.
"We have now declared a dispute and be in no doubt if we don't get serious action we will ballot our members and do whatever is required to end this reckless approach to a potentially lethal situation on these increasingly busy trains."