6 November 2017
RMT Press Office:
RMT campaign blows open row between rail regulator and train operator over strike day safety
RAIL UNION RMT warned today that contingency plans put in place by Greater Anglia for RMT strike action over rail safety this week have collapsed into "dangerous chaos" after campaigning by the union opened up an extraordinary row between the rail regulator and the company on Friday.
On Friday morning Abellio issued a press statement saying that their plans for this week, which involve scab managers acting up as bogus guards, had been approved by the regulator, the Office of Road and Rail. RMT immediately hit back, exposing the fact that the plans were exactly the same as the "PUGS" operational model that had been put in place during the last strike action and found to be high risk by the ORR after pressure from RMT.
As a result a row broke out between the ORR and Greater Anglia which led to their press statement being withdrawn, an unprecedented move by a rail company in recent times. However, as far as the union is aware, Abellio have not changed their dangerous plans for this week one bit.
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said;
"The situation on Greater Anglia has descended into dangerous chaos and the company must not be allowed to get away with this cavalier attitude to passenger and staff safety. We have very similar issues in the other disputes over the guards and rail safety and it is time for the regulator to step up to the plate, prove their independence and call a halt to these high-risk strike breaking plans.
"If these companies spent a fraction of the time they are deploying on cooking up strike-breaking operations sitting down with the union in genuine talks aimed at settling these disputes we could reach agreements that protect safety and underpin the guard guarantee.
"RMT will continue with our campaign that puts public safety before private profit."