9 May 2014
RMT Press Office
RAIL UNION RMT today slammed Northern Rail for a “cavalier and dangerous disregard for safety” as a leaked email was passed to the union in which a senior manager praises his team for “covering up the technical failures…” during strike action taken by Maintenance Depot Drivers in their fight for a fair deal in a pay and job re-grading dispute.
The email originated from the office of Northern Rail’s Engineering Director Stuart Draper and is dated the 10th April 2014.
RMT says that the leak proves that staff have been coerced into cutting corners to try and cover up the impact of the maintenance drivers action and raises serious questions about just what the “technical failures” in question really are and just what risks have been taken in the “covering up” exercise.
The core issue at the heart of the on-going dispute , involving RMT Northern Rail maintenance driver members at Heaton (Newcastle) and Neville Hill (Leeds) Traincare Depots, is over a re-grading exercise which has failed to recognise the complex and demanding role of this key group of staff and which has ignored the skills and hard work that they bring to the company.
RMT Acting General Secretary Mick Cash said:
“RMT is shocked and appalled at the email leaked to us from right at the top of Northern Rail which seems to be gloating at the fact that technical failures have been deliberately covered up to try and undermine the industrial action by a key group of staff fighting for nothing more than a fair deal in the workplace.
“From the information that RMT has seen this appears to amount to a cavalier and dangerous disregard for the safety of both staff and the public in pursuit of a campaign to break the will of RMT members in dispute with Northern Rail over the botched re-grading exercise.
“It is now down to Northern Rail to explain to the public just what technical failures they have been deliberately covering up and just what the implications of that cover up really are.”