Latest Rail News

16.08.13

RMT staff vote to strike against DOO on London Overground

Guards on London Overground have voted for strike action in response to TfL plans to introduce Driver Only Operation (DOO). The rail union RMT has warned that the move could significantly damage passenger safety.

DOO would lead to the loss of 130 guard posts, which the RMT argues are essential for safety and passengers needing assistance boarding trains and manoeuvering platforms.

RMT general secretary Bob Crow said: “The fight to defend 130 safety-critical guards jobs on London Overground will be centre stage in RMT's overall battle to defend jobs and safety on London's transport services.

“The news that millions of passengers are to be put at risk through plans to throw the guards off London Overground trains on north London routes has already sent shockwaves through transport services and is clearly a foretaste of what is to come.”

But TfL has said that trains which do not use guards actually have a better safety record than those that do.

One driver posting at railforums.co.uk said: “The trains are busy at all times of day, they are well lit, they have clear CCTV and above all the fact that they are open carriages the whole length of the train makes for a pretty safe environment.

“As a driver I might prefer to have a guard for other reasons. If things do go wrong it is indeed nice to have someone else to make announcements to passengers and keep them reassured whilst you remain focussed on safety critical issues, etc. It's always good to have someone else there (and indeed for them to assist in safety critical matters in the event of accident, evacuation, etc). These are rare events however and whether in this day and age a company can justify two different methods of operation across their network without valid reason I don't know. LOROL inherited guards on those sections of the network where they are employed rather than created them. I felt it was only a matter of time.”

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

Image c. TfL

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