21 March 2017
RMT Press Office:
RMT warns of co-ordinated Government plans to axe rail staff, compromise safety and run trains on the cheap.
Rail union RMT warned today of a co-ordinated Government plan to axe thousands of rail jobs including all drivers from Britain's trains.
The Rail Capability Plan, just issued with Government and RSSB support, sets out proposals to further compromise and dilute the current safety regime and run ‘Autonomous’ trains on the cheap.
The plan states:
“Given the pace of development in Information and Communications Technology a completely new operational concept and train control and regulation capability can be developed over the short to medium term”.
The Department for Transport have launched a new innovation competition with up to £9 million to support UK businesses in developing technological solutions for the railway.
Inviting applications that “create high-value, low-cost railway innovations, which increase the value of rail services to passengers while driving down operational expense” it goes on to say “Innovations in this theme need not be constrained by existing railway standards” but will “help deliver optimal staffing for a high-value, low-cost railway”.
One of the themes (No 8) is called Intelligent Trains and says “Intelligent trains will reduce the reliance on complex and expensive rail infrastructure and control systems and through automation transition the role of railway staff from direct control and operation to supervision”
It goes on to say “Intelligent trains will be aware of themselves and their surroundings, knowing where they need to be and when, and able to automatically adjust journeys to meet demand”
Four milestone’s including Driverless trains predict a bold future of Autonomous Trains capable of regulating their own passage through the network and is laid out clearly for everyone who works in the industry on page 27 of the plan:
Mick Cash RMT General Secretary said:
“The cat is well and truly out of the bag now. The Government are working hand in glove with the private train operators and the RSSB on a long-term plan for rail in this country that would axe thousands of jobs across the industry, hammer down on safety and run services on the cheap in the name of fatter profits – the majority of which will be shipped abroad by overseas state rail companies to subsidise their own domestic transport operations.
“The rail capability plan sounds innocuous enough but is, in fact, a blueprint for automation with the long-term objective of a faceless railway where passengers are left to fend for themselves without any human contact whatsoever. It is scandalous that this whole drive towards the faceless railway is being smuggled through without any serious scrutiny whatsoever.
“RMT is blowing the whistle on this disaster in the making and will continue to fight for a properly staffed and resourced railway where public safety comes before private profit.”
The Rail Technical Strategy (RTS) produced Rail Capability Plan can be found on the RTS website via the Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB) https://www.rssb.co.uk/rts/Documents/2017-01-27-rail-technical-strategy-capability-delivery-plan-brochure.pdf