12 July 2016
RMT Press Office:
Southern forced to press-gang managers into working as guards on emergency timetable proving that they are under-staffed.
Rail union RMT revealed today that every manager on Southern Rail with the correct safety certification has been press-ganged into working as an ad-hoc guard to try and make the emergency timetable work – proving the union’s core claim that it is systematic understaffing on the franchise that is at the root of the current crisis and not the company lies about staff sickness.
The move to draft in managers to plug gaps in the establishment also blows apart the Govia Thameslink claims that the emergency timetable has been drawn up to fit with available staff numbers. Even with the cancellation of nearly 350 trains a day the company don’t have adequate staff levels to fill their rosters and diagrams and are forced into a series of emergency measures which the union says throw up serious safety concerns.
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said;
“GTR/Southern told the public that the emergency timetable was drawn up to fit with current available staff numbers. It was yet another pack of lies from a basket-case franchise in terminal meltdown. They are now being forced to press-gang managers to plug the gaps in what they themselves describe as an emergency situation. This is crisis management that is simply out of control and the fact that the Government are on the side lines cheering this nonsense on is a national disgrace.
“The big lie that the current situation is down to “staff sickness” or “unofficial industrial action” is exposed as a fraud.
“The systemic failures on Govia Thameslink are down to a toxic combination of gross managerial incompetence and the failure to recruit and train enough guards and drivers to fill the rosters and diagrams. Those problems are simply compounded by the threat to downgrade and undermine the current safety-critical role of the guard from next month.
“RMT’s fight is with the company and their cheerleaders in Government and not with the travelling public whose anger and frustration we share. It’s time for Ministers to start taking some responsibility for the chaos that is playing out on Britain’s biggest rail franchise.”