8 November 2017
RMT Press Office:
RMT responds to Government-cheerleaders, the Rail Delivery Group, attack on Britain's train guards
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:
“These strikes are about rail safety and accessibility pure and simple. Only this week at the Wimbledon derailment it was the guard on that train who safely evacuated 300 passengers in an emergency situation. Those are the same guards that South Western Railway used to call legends and who they now want to throw off their trains. They are the same guards who have kept passengers safe for years on Merseyrail, Greater Anglia, Southern and Northern Rail.
“The Rail Delivery Group need to answer why they are now going back on their own report, which was supressed for two years , which said that guards were in the frontline in providing assistance to disabled and older passengers and that there should always be a member of on-board staff to assist passengers. “
“All of these disputes have a common theme and that is a drive by foreign-owned rail companies to axe guards on Britain’s trains in order to put private profit before public safety and accessibility.
“It is sickening that Chris Grayling and his supporters in the industry bosses club, the Rail Delivery Group, are prepared to sit back and cheer on overseas operators who are robbing British passengers blind in order to subsidise transport services in Paris, Amsterdam and Hong Kong.
“RMT’s fight to keep the guards is about protecting the safety, security and access to rail services of the travelling public against an all-out drive to ramp up profits which are then shipped across the Channel. The idea that the British economy benefits from rammed out, expensive, unsafe and unreliable trains is ludicrous.
“It’s time for the Government, and their Rail Delivery Group fan club, to lift the blockade which is preventing rail companies from negotiating deals like the ones we have successfully struck in Wales and Scotland that guarantee a guard on the trains. If it's good enough for Scotland and Wales it's good enough for the rest of Britain.”
RAIL DELIVERY GROUP ON THE NEED FOR GUARDS ON OUR TRAINS
“On track for 2020 – the future of accessible rail travel” commissioned by the Rail Delivery Group https://abcommuters.wordpress.com/2017/06/26/exclusive-abc-reveals-buried-rdg-report-on-disabled-access-which-strongly-advises-keeping-the-guard-on-the-train/
The report was presented to the RDG in May 2015 but only published in June 2017 after it was leaked. The Report found that “Critically, it is Conductors who are in the front line in providing assisted boarding and alighting, including platform-train ramps where appropriate, at the majority of platforms which are not staffed. It is Conductors who are best placed to ensure that assistance is delivered effectively and in accordance with the law. A key risk area is availability of help in getting off the train.”
During disruption and in the event of an emergency, Conductors can also deliver the railway’s duty of care to assisted passengers and other older and disabled people.”
The report concluded that “There should always be on-board staff available to assist passengers at unstaffed stations.”