7 November 2017
RMT Press Office:
RMT warns of dangers to passengers from rail bosses strike breaking plans and “clearly compromised” position of rail safety inspectorate as union reveals that the regulator received almost £8 million in last year alone from affected rail companies.
RAIL UNION RMT has today issued a warning that rail operator’s strike breaking plans this week will put passengers at serious risk.
RMT is aware that rail companies are training up rail staff who have previously had no rail operational experienced to stand in as highly trained guards. In some cases staff are being bussed in by other train companies not involved in the dispute, paid a bounty and put up overnight in hotels.
The Unions concerns have been heightened by the fact that during the recent Greater Anglia strike the company were found by the safety regulator to be guilty of a number of “deficiencies and failings” arising their use of replacement labour these deficiencies and failings included planning procedures, risk assessment, training and safety validation. The union fears these concerns are not confined to just Greater Anglia.
Yet despite this the union is now aware that on South Western Railway the rail safety regulator must have signed off the companies strike breaking plans for Wednesday and Thursday. Despite union requests the rail regulator has also refused to take any action against the other train companies who are using replacement labour this week.
The rail regulators inaction has raised strong suspicions that it is not acting independently, suspicions which have been reinforced by new research that has found that the owners of the companies involved in the strikes this week have paid almost £8 million to the safety regulator as a “levy” in the last year alone.
The amounts paid to the regulator are below and a more detailed breakdown is attached.
Abellio: £1.6m (owned companies include Greater Anglia and Merseyrail)
First: £2.3m (owned companies included South Western Railway)
Arriva: £1.9m (owned companies include Northern Rail)
Go – Ahead: £2m (owned companies include Southern Rail)
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said
“This week passengers will be placed at greater risk because rail bosses have trained an army of managers and inexperienced backroom staff to replace highly trained and experienced guards in a bid to break the strike action. It is obvious to anyone that this will mean passengers will more at risk yet the rail safety regulator is not intervening to protect passengers.
“We have always said that be the rail regulator is not independent and now we have learnt that it is actually dependant on substantial funding from the very companies it is supposed to police. In the last year alone the owners of the companies involved in this week’s strike action have paid £8 million to the regulator, representing over half of the inspectorates total income from the train operators.
"He who pays the piper plays the tune and the regulator is clearly compromised which is not only wrong for passengers it is downright dangerous.”