22 June 2015
RMT Press Office
Train bosses plan for national dispute to bulldoze through lethal gamble on driver only operation.
A report by a leading rail industry body funded by the train operating companies is advising rail bosses to plan for 10 days of industrial action to get rid of train guards and introduce driver only operation (DOO).
The report comes as RMT is locked into battles in the North and on First Great Western with the union fighting plans to axe safety-critical guards.
The secret report by the Rail Safety Standards Board (RSSB) and seen by the RMT states that "at the start of the implementation of the new D00 scheme the RU (rail undertaking) carefully considers industrial relations and provides for the possibility of 5 - 10 days industrial action."
The report openly admits that the driving force behind DOO is for train bosse to "reduce their costs" but that the safety factors are "not quantified" and that changes if not properly introduced could have "potentially fatal consequences."
The report also admits that introducing DOO could mean that there was a "potential for increased fare evasion" whilst there would be reduced training and salaries for train staff and "musculoskeletal" health and "workload" issues for drivers.
Speaking at RMT's AGM in Newcastle, General Secretary Mick Cash said;
"This report shows that the train companies and their cheerleaders are preparing to cause chaos and shut down the railways for days on end in a desperate and profit-led gamble on Driver Only Operation.
"RMT is currently balloting on First Great Western over a fight to retain the safety-critical guards and that battle is alive and kicking across the train operating companies.
"It is extraordinary that on the one hand the train companies are taking the axe to the guards but behind the scenes they are admitting there has been no safety analysis, that the plans could prove fatal and would open the door to mass fare evasion. Our fight on this crucial issue goes on. "