27 April 2016
RMT press office
RMT SOUTHERN GUARDS STRIKE "SOLID AND UNITED" ON SECOND DAY IN FIGHT FOR RAIL SAFETY
RAIL UNION RMT said today that industrial action involved hundreds of guards on Southern Rail is “solid and united” on its second day as hundreds of staff continue the fight to put safety before profits on the routes across the franchise.
The union said today that it is picking up excellent support from the general public at stations across Southern Rail as members continue to press home the message on the three core issues at the heart of the strike:
• Removal of conductors from trains
• Safety under threat
• Company putting profit before safety
On social media, members of the public are making it clear that, while no one welcomes disruption to their journeys, they recognise that the fight to retain the safety-qualified guards on Southern services is fundamental to the safety regime on the seriously over-stretched and over-crowded trains.
With commuters paying thousands of pounds a year for their annual tickets on Southern there can be no-explanation for the removal of the guards other than a central obsession in the board room for putting increased profits above public safety. That message is ringing out loud and clear as the dispute continues.
Mick Cash, RMT General Secretary, said:
“Our guards members on Southern are solid and united on the second day of action and the union welcomes the support from the travelling public as they recognise that this dispute is about defending safety critical jobs and services against the drive for cash-driven cuts that would see those services hacked to ribbons.
“Passengers are only too well aware that this is rail franchise that has already axed on-board catering services, continues to threaten ticket office and station services and is now coming for the guards who are the front line troops in the delivery of safety. All of those cuts plans are driven by one factor and that is the over-arching demand from Southern GTR to max up their financial returns.
“RMT has said right from the outset that this dispute is about safety and the safety-critical role of the guards on Southern trains. The company, with an eye on ever-fatter profits, is prepared to axe the guards on some of the most overcrowded and potentially-dangerous services in Britain so that they can squeeze every last penny out of their passengers regardless of the consequences. That is a lethal gamble with safety in the name of profit and that is why we have been forced to take strike action today.
“Southern see their passengers as nothing more than self-loading freight, there to be fleeced at every turn and every opportunity. The consequences of removing guards, the human eyes and ears on that dangerous interface between crowded platforms and crowded trains, is blindingly obvious to anyone but the rip-off merchants running this deeply unpopular rail franchise.
“RMT now expects that the strength of feeling demonstrated by our members on Southern since Tuesday morning will trigger serious and meaningful talks with the company and the lifting of the threat to jobs and safety.”