Union says government policy would see train guards lose their jobs
The safe evacuation of the Northern Rail train derailed near St Bees in Cumbria yesterday underlines the importance of safety-trained train and infrastructure crew who are under threat thanks to “wrong-headed” government policy, said the RMT.
As the media reported praise for the train crew’s calm and orderly evacuation of around 100 passengers, the union condemned the government’s plan to abolish guards under the notorious McNulty report, which aims to sack up to 20,000 rail staff to protect private operators’ profits.
RMT general secretary Bob Crow said: “Yesterday’s controlled evacuation in Cumbria underlines exactly why guards are so important and why the government is so, so wrong to put private operators’ profits ahead of rail safety.
“Passengers were full of praise for the way the train crew took control of the situation and led people to safety, but if the government gets its way the safety-critical role of guards will be ditched, along with thousands of safety-trained front-line station staff.
“RMT understands that a Network Rail mobile operations manager was also at the remote scene very quickly to take charge, but under the government’s plans to shift track control towards the private operators, this is another role that is under threat.
“It is at times like these that the crucial importance of professional, properly trained staff becomes so clear, and we would urge everyone who uses the railways to tell MPs and the government that cutting guards and other safety-critical staff is not an option.”
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