5 January 2017
RMT Press Office:
RMT demands action over "catastrophic safety failures" on Southern Rail as ORR release new report on DOO
The catastrophic failures of Southern Rail are further exposed today as RMT shines a light on the incompetence of both the regulator (Office of Road and Rail, ORR) and the train operator Govia Thameslink. The new revelations from RMT fly in the face of a new report on Driver Only Operation on Southern Rail that has been released by the Office of Rail and Road this morning.
In November 2016 Ian Prosser Director of Rail Safety at the ORR wrote to Louise Ellman MP Chair of the transport Select Committee and stated:
“Given the level of public interest, my inspectors have carried out a detailed inspection and review of Southern’ s proposals” They re-iterated their view on the 13th December by emphasising that “ORR has scrutinised this approach and our inspectors are satisfied that with suitable equipment, proper procedures and competent staff in place, it is a safe method of working.”
However three weeks later the ORR met with Southern management and the unions and it has now been proposed that any driver, where Driver Only Operation (DOO) has been imposed, will now receive training. Until the training has been completed drivers in these circumstances will not be required to drive DOO trains.
Furthermore they have stated that just because some drivers have driven DOO trains since the imposition this does not mean they should not be provided with the requisite training to ensure competence.
RMT is demanding an urgent action and a statement in parliament as to how the regulator can have signed off a system in November that they now recognise fails at least one of their golden rules.
Mick Cash RMT General Secretary said:
“This unmitigated disaster of a forced introduction of an unsafe system has to stop. By breaching their own rule and not having competent staff in place the current system is not “a safe method of working” The government now need to urgently explain to the public why they are letting this basket case management of the franchise continue to wreak havoc on their daily lives and endanger their lives in the process”