The RMT has demanded that Northern Rail explain to the travelling public why it are issuing posters setting out the service and safety role of the conductors on their trains while going along with government plans for the new franchise which would axe …

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The RMT has demanded that Northern Rail explain to the travelling public why it are issuing posters setting out the service and safety role of the conductors on their trains while going along with government plans for the new franchise which would axe the guards/conductors and move the whole service over to Driver Only Operation.

The poster is being displayed on trains across the Northern Rail routes and says:

“Our priority is to keep you safe, so if you have any concerns please speak to the conductor.

The conductor on this train will be happy to:

•    Sell you a ticket
•    Provide any help and information you need.”

The reassurance of the safety-critical role played by the conductor/guard, promoted by Northern in their publicity campaign, is totally at odds with the Government consultation on the future of the franchise, which closed on Monday and which clearly sets out Driver Only Operation as the operational model.

Mick Cash, RMT Acting General Secretary, said: “RMT has argued that the conductor/guard role on our trains is essential in delivering both a safe environment and high quality services. That position is backed up by Northern in their external publicity while behind the scenes they are conniving with the Government to axe those very same staff in the future. The whole situation stinks and exposes again that the new franchises are about nothing more than maximising profits.

“RMT has made it absolutely clear that the campaign to stop the carve up of jobs and services on Northern and Trans-Pennine Express has only reached round one and RMT is now moving into the next phase. The role of the conductor/guard on our trains remains central to that campaign.

“Politicians across the North need to recognise that if they don’t oppose the plans to rip apart rail services in the region in the name of profit then they will be called to account by an electorate that RMT will ensure is fully aware of the issues.

“The only solution to this racketeering on our railway tracks is public ownership and the return of our railways to the people on the basis that they are run as a public service and not as a get-rich-quick scheme for greedy private train companies.”


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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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