6 October 2017
RMT Press Office:
RMT demands urgent action from rail regulator over latest Greater Anglia strike-breaking safety failures.
RAIL UNION RMT has today written yet again to the rail safety regulator demanding action over serious safety failures by strike-breaking managers on Greater Anglia as the union raises concerns that the regulator is colluding with the company to cover up safety breaches on a politically motivated basis.
In his latest letter to Ian Prosser, the Chief Inspector of Railways, Mick Cash says:
GREATER ANGLIA DISPUTE – REPLACEMENT LABOUR
You are aware from my previous letters of 21st September and 3rd October of RMT’s concerns over safety during our current dispute with Greater Anglia where they are using a rag tag of volunteers to try and break our dispute.
This morning I have been forwarded an e-mail delivered to these PUGS (see below) from Richard Dean, Train Service Delivery Director. I have a number of concerns:
* Richard Dean acknowledges our very same concern that the PUGS have only received “basic training in Conductor duties”). Not ‘training to the highest standard’ as Greater Anglia keep pointing out in every briefing they give to the media
* The training did not cover distraction risks or if it did it must have been very brief or why bother to reiterate it here?
* Nor lifestyle/fatigue levels or if it did it must have been very brief or why bother to reiterate it here?
* Nor drug and alcohol policies or if it did it must have been very brief or why bother to reiterate it here?
This is a clear example of an operator who is putting profit/strike breaking ahead of the safe operation of the railway. Again I would ask what training have these ‘volunteers’ received in terms of time and detail on the above areas and others and whether the Regulator is satisfied with the training these individuals acting in this role of received or whether you share my concerns.
I have also been alerted to a further incident which occurred on Tuesday on a service from Norwich to Liverpool Street where the PUGS on the train left the door panel armed while the member of staff ate lunch in the 1st Class carriages. I have not yet been provided of the time of the service or any further details but when I get any further information I will pass this on to you in order that you can correctly carry out some enquiries.
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:
“RMT has made numerous complaints to the rail safety regulator over potentially lethal safety breaches during this week’s strike action on Greater Anglia and they have completely ignored us. That is outrageous and points to deliberate collusion on a politically motivated basis. The regulator is supposed to be an independent body and is failing wholesale in its duty to the travelling public, that is disgraceful.
“Today we are again demanding action from the Inspectorate and we expect them to start taking this issue seriously and to drop this scandalous bias in favour of the private train operator.”
A copy of the pictures of the door panel left armed can be found here:
Letter to strike breakers from Richard Dean
As the strike days, declared by the RMT, approach us, I would like to reiterate my appreciation for your support as a Contingency Conductor.
It is also very important that during the industrial action you are fully aware of the arrangements we are taking to minimise the risk of operational incidents or personal accidents.
As you are aware, you have received basic training in Conductor duties and have been trained in how to respond in an emergency situation. You have a personal responsibility to ensure you have received the necessary specific training and have been assessed as medically and operationally competent before undertaking any duties unsupervised.
A common cause of operational incidents is distraction, so please do not try to manage your normal day job whilst carrying out your contingency duties and only use your mobile phone appropriately.
It is very important to only undertake duties for which you have been assessed competent in. If there is any doubt what you can or cannot do please speak to the person in charge at the location or telephone Control / Duty Train Crew Managers.
Please ensure you know what location and what times you will be required to work. If you do not know please contact your conductor support manager.
I must remind you of the requirements of managing your lifestyle / fatigue levels and ensuring you have 12 hours rest between turns of duty and you do not work more than 12 hours in any shift.
I would also request that if you are travelling / staying overnight before commencing your conductor duty that you arrive in suitable time to be settled / rested and arriving fresh for your shift.
Please also be reminded that this is a safety critical role and as such the drugs and alcohol policy must be strictly adhered too.
On the day please ensure you wear suitable clothing and wear your issued orange high visibility vest and that you have all the required personal equipment we have provided to you to perform your duties.
Thank you again for your support.
Train Service Delivery Director