Labour Research December 2016

Health & Safety Matters

More action on rail safety

Rail unions have stepped up their action to defend safety on trains and the London Underground (LU). 

The RMT said its members on Southern Rail will take further strike action over Christmas and the New Year as part of a long-running dispute over the imposition of driver-only operation. The union is fighting to ensure that there is a second safety critical member of staff (a guard) on services. The dispute looked set to escalate as drivers’ union Aslef balloted its Southern Rail members for industrial action last month. 

The RMT held a day of action for its Safer Scottish Trains campaign last month, calling for the Dutch company Abellio to be stripped of its ScotRail franchise. The union says the company is “plundering £1 million a month in profits”, draining away funds that could be invested in staffing, services and safety. 

In addition, 85% of RMT LU platform staff, and a similar proportion of Piccadilly Line drivers, have voted for strike action over safety concerns, while the TSSA is balloting its members for strike action over a “worrying and rapid decline in safety standards”.

The TSSA highlighted the axing of essential safety and security-critical staff, including dedicated CCTV monitors and station evacuation staff.