Latest Rail News

28.05.12

Campaign against rail reforms launched

Rail unions are launching a new campaign, ‘Action for Rail’, to fight government reforms to the rail industry.

Union leaders are opposed to the staffing and service cuts recommended by Sir Roy McNulty’s Rail Value for Money review.

The review suggested that the rail industry was inefficient and needed to make considerable cost savings. Unions believe staffing cuts will account for over a quarter of the cost reductions, leading to around 20,800 job losses. Closure of 750 small-staffed stations was also recommended.

Over 100 Labour and Liberal Democrat MPs have signed a motion in Parliament registering their concerns about the reforms.

TUC deputy general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “The Government vision of a rail industry with deserted stations, closed ticket offices and trains with no staff is one that appeals to train operators seeking to cut costs and maximise profits – but train passengers are appalled.

“The public wants the help, reassurance and safety that rail staff provide, which is why so many passengers have responded to our campaign and have expressed their anger at the plans to cull the rail industry workforce.”

RMT general secretary Bob Crow said: “This government, using the McNulty Rail Review as cover, is hell-bent on a policy of vandalising and de-staffing the railways regardless of the consequences for both staff and the travelling public.”

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at opinion@railtechnologymagazine.com

Comments

Ricp   30/05/2012 at 09:40

All three major rail unions have policy units, and need to work together to point out it is NOT station staff that inflate costs, but the dysfunctional structure of the industry. This is the product of ignorant political advisors to the Major government, incompetent civil servants who created this 'jungle' and the failure of the Labour Government to slowly modify the structure and ownership of the railway industries over their 13 year term. The Union's beef, understandably, relates to staffing, and the rtm.com web report incorrectly refers to 'closures' implying stations, when it is actually booking office closures. This is a false economy as there is a loss of income from those unable to / won't use ticket machines, and the increased vandalism, graffitti, broken windows or scratched perspex, leading to an unsatifactory passenger environment and increased maintenance costs, etc, etc. We have all seen grotty unstaffed stations. Name your favourite! Mine's Angel Road, Lea Valley Line. PTE/ITA operations from Merseytravel and Centro have required stations to be staffed to the end of service, and the remarkable reduction in vandalism saves so much hassle and remedial costs. TfL's zero tolerance on grafitti on London Overground has meant my local LO station has had but one vandalism attack in 3 YEARS, it is clean, tidy and STAFFED. And very brightly lit at night and lots of CCTV. Therefore Brother Bob, Comrade Crow, and others, set out an alternative policy to ensure your valued members, well valued by passengers like me, and certainly more so than by some management, are performing a useful function, and be prepared to be a little more flexible. McNulty, like Serpell, needs shelving, but after you have read it to know what is wrong. Political and managerial incompetence goes back 50 years to Marples and many, but not all, aspects of Beeching.

DC   04/08/2016 at 12:52

As a commuter on Southern Trains, I am simply speechless at the Unions attitude to Driver Operation Only Trains and the dishonesty at disguising it as a safety issue. At the Transport Select Committee hearing on 5th July, the RMT was unable to provide any evidence in support, and when asked if the London Underground and other uses of DOO trains were unsafe, the RMT declined to comment. Indeed, when I catch a 12 car train into London each morning, the guard is rarely seen, and when the train does depart, he/she only conducts a cursory glance up and down the platform. The drivers of DOO have CCTV of every door. Indeed on one journey, when the guard entered the carriage, they were clapped and offered a seat in case they fell ill. The real issue, as challenged by the Transport Select Committee is protecting union membership. Southern have apparently guaranteed that there will be no redundancies to Guards. So if it’s not safety, and not about redundancies, what is the issue? It’s about those leaving the rail industry and not being replaced, or put another way, protecting union membership numbers. I, as a commuter, am in favour of DOO trains, simply because I have had three early train terminations in the last 6 months due to the lack of a guard, having been offloaded at Gatwick, Haywards Heath and Brighton (train was supposed to go to Littlehampton). 100% of the passengers if asked, would they like the train to proceed as planned, 100% would have said yes. Southern Trains arn’t blameless in the issues facing them. Shortage of staff and poor management has contributed to the shambles, but the doubling of sickness since the dispute started, has significantly impacted their ability to provide a reliable service. The most successful civilisations are the ones that are flexible and adaptive to changing technology and methods of working. I can’t help but feel that currently, the Customer, me, is totally without a voice.

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