Union says fragmentisation and privatisation lie at the heart of the problem

Tim Lezard Europe, UK, Rail, Transport (ITF), RMT,

London BridgePrivatisation of the railways is the real reason behind the chaos at London Bridge, according to the RMT.

The union has listed a catalogue of faults left behind by contractors working on the £500 million redevelopment of London Bridge which have been the catalyst to the continuing chaos and overcrowding at the station in recent weeks.

Works at the station have been undertaken by a variety of contractors and sub-contractors with Balfour Beatty the main firm on the track remodelling and Costains in charge of the overall station redevelopment.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “RMT warned from the off that the continuing chaos at London Bridge could be tracked back to the fragmentation and privatisation of our railways with its myriad of contractors and sub-contractors and the drive to cut corners and rush through important works in the interest of meeting financial targets and protecting profits.

“The catalogue of faults identified by our reps is breath-taking and, alongside the abject failure to listen to our members who understand how a railway works, shows that the continuing chaos and overcrowding at London Bridge was entirely predictable.

“Even though RMT blew the whistle on this right from the off at no point since the pictures of the dangerous situation emerged have our reps and our members been asked for their views by the DfT and the politicians who are posing about claiming that they are tackling the crisis. We were ignored at the start and we are still being ignored now and our demand for a summit on the growing safety and overcrowding scandal on our transport services has fallen on deaf ears.

RMT will continue to expose the truth while those responsible offer nothing but PR stunts and sticking plaster solutions.”

Senior RMT officials have identified the following issues;

*New track and signalling layout poorly installed

*Incorrect procedures followed

*Corners cut on quality of new points

*Network Rail engineers left to correct contractor faults

*Some installation mistakes potentially dangerous

*Concerns raised by union members ignored

*Meaningless and fantasy computer models which underestimated traffic and footfall used to justify plans

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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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