RMT steps up the fight for workplace justice & insists every train must have a guard!

South Western railway picket line at Waterloo station

FOLLOWING his re-election this week as general secretary of specialist rail and transport union RMT for a further five-year term, Mick Cash is insisting it’s back to ‘business as usual – as the union unites and steps up the fight for workplace justice in a wide range of ongoing disputes’.

Of South Western Railway, with which the RMT remains in dispute and insists that for the sake of public safety on the railways every train must have a guard, Cash stressed: ‘The company continues to drag its heels and delays talks over guaranteeing the safety-critical role of the guard on the train.

‘Guard and driver members will strike 00:01 hours Friday 30th August 2019 and 23:59 hours Monday 2nd September 2019

‘Bluestar Buses in Dorset and Hampshire – RMT has rejected a pay offer from the company. The dispute involves drivers, cleaners and ticket office staff.

‘Members are instructed not to work any overtime over their contracted 40 hours and not to work on their rest days for one week commencing from:

  • 00:01 hours on Wednesday 4th September 2019 and 23:59 hours on Tuesday 10th September 2019.

‘Central and Victoria Lines have two separate disputes, both involving a breakdown in industrial relations.

‘RMT Members working on the Central and Victoria Lines as Train Operators, Night Tube Train Operators and Instructor Operators at Hainault, Leytonstone, Loughton, West Ruislip, White City, Brixton and Seven Sisters Traincrew Depots will now take strike action by not booking on for any shifts that commence between:

  • 20:00 hours on Tuesday 3rd September 2019 to 20:00 hours on Wednesday 4th September 2019.

‘Clarke Chapman at various nationwide locations – Pay justice dispute at Network rail contractor.

‘RMT members to take 48-hour strike action commencing at 00:01 hours on Saturday 31st August 2019 until 23:59 hours on Sunday 1st September 2019.

‘Additionally, the continuous overtime and restday working ban remains in force until further notice.

  • Nexus (Tyne & Wear Metro): Dispute calling for fair re-grade for skilled maintainers.

‘RMT is instructing all Nexus Skilled Maintainer, Electrical/Mechanical Grade 4 members to not book on for shifts that commence beween:

  • 21:00 hours on Friday 6th September 2019 and 20:59 hours on Sunday 8th September 2019.
  • Wabtec Faiveley

‘Dispute over pay at engineering firm Wabtec Faiveley UK (Rail Doncaster).

‘Members are instructed to take the following strike action by not booking on for any shifts that commence between:

  • 06:00 hours on Wednesday 4th September 2019 and 05:59 on Wednesday 11th September 2019.
  • 06:00 hours on Monday 16th September 2019 and 05:59 on Monday 23rd September 2019.

‘Additionally instructed to take the following industrial action short of a strike in the form of an overtime ban:

  • 06:00 hours on Wednesday 11th September 2019 until 05:59 on Monday 16th September 2019.
  • 06:00 on Monday 23rd September 2019 until further notice.
  • Merseyrail

‘Ongoing dispute over the role of the Guard at Merseyrail.

‘In order to allow for further detailed discussion the RMT has agreed to suspend industrial action called for 24th August, 3rd and 5th September 2019.

‘Action beyond those dates still remains on and the union’s executive have instructed our Merseyrail members not to book on for duty on the following dates:

‘Monday 30th September 00.01-23.59 hrs: Wednesday 2nd October 00.01-23.59 hrs: Friday 4th October 00.01-23.59 hours.

  • Royal Fleet Auxiliary

‘Members at RFA are engaged in an on ongoing industrial action over the imposition of a 1.5% pay cap.’

RMT General Secretary Mick Cash continued: ‘The election for general secretary is done and this union is now wholly focussed on our industrial and political campaigning strategy for the next five years as we seek to extend and defend our members working conditions, jobs, pay and pensions in every sector where we organise.

‘My message to the employers is simple: This trade union will leave no one behind in the pursuit of workplace justice, and we will stand and fight wherever that principle comes under attack.

‘We have made huge strides over the past five years and as the list of on-going disputes shows very clearly we are united moving forwards as a militant, democratic and campaigning trade union that is all about fighting and winning.’

  • Hundreds of passengers were crushed while fights broke out amid chaos on train services to and from Edinburgh.

Rail users travelling from Waverley and Haymarket were left stranded due to the dangerous overcrowding on Saturday night.

Scotland played France at Murrayfield and it was the last weekend of the Edinburgh festivals, causing services to be busier than normal.

Police were called to remove passengers from the trains after fights broke out as tensions rose.

Passenger Sami Campbell, who was travelling from Haymarket to Falkirk, said a man was pushed out of a carriage, almost falling onto the tracks.

The scenes she saw resembled a ‘living nightmare’ for her and her husband.

Speaking to STV News, she said: ‘It was absolute chaos.

‘We got to the main platform at Haymarket, but there were people everywhere. It was like London Underground – it was jam packed. We were in a sweat box.

‘People were just piling into the station. People were walking at the edge of the tracks. People were fighting.

‘Two men were fighting and one was pushing the other off the train.

‘A young guy was on the edge and the doors opened because of the pressure and he almost fell on the tracks – it was absolutely horrific and that’s when we decided to leave the station.

‘You couldn’t move through people on the platform itself – it was totally manic.

‘I suffer with anxiety and it was a total living nightmare seeing people running about and shouting.

‘It was like it was the end of the world and everyone was running.

‘It’s like when you watch these films when people try to get away from somewhere but there is just no where for them to go.

‘This is Scotland and for the people who have came to our country to celebrate our festival – it was so disorganised and ridiculous.’

Another passenger, Vikki Wood, described the scenes she witnessed as ‘horrific’, saying people were crying and begging to let them on the trains.

She said: ‘I’m used to bad services from ScotRail but that was a new low.

‘We struggled to get into Edinburgh and people were really unwell as it was really hot.

‘Haymarket was heaving and they had customer service people right along the platform to stop people going over the yellow line – I actually feared they would fall onto the tracks but they were joking about it.

‘When the train came the joke was over – hardly anyone got on it. There were people crying and begging to let their children on.

‘People were pushing others off the train and arguments started – it was shocking.

‘It was so unpleasant. We could see through the windows and people were giving the signs of it being horrific.’

She said passengers were crying due to the overcrowding.

‘People were pushing and I thought there was going to be a mass brawl,’ she said.

‘A man had a four-year-old child and was grabbing the ScotRail staff pleading to let them on while his child was in tears at the chaos.

‘When they came in everyone was out for themselves. People were shoving people in. It wasn’t pleasant.

‘If you were disabled you would never have got on to the train. It’s absolutely ridiculous. It’s unsafe and so uncomfortable.

‘It’s not as if they never knew the rugby was on or the festivals – it’s not as if it’s a surprise.

‘The Scottish Government and the council encourage people to use public transport but it has to be fit for purpose.’

A ScotRail spokesman said: ‘We’re sorry to our customers who have experienced disruption and busy services. We do all that we can to meet demand.

‘Every available train we have is out on the network to get our customers where they need to be.

‘Customers delayed by 30 minutes or more are encouraged to claim for money back via our Delay Repay Guarantee on our website or mobile app.’

  • Two people were hit by separate trains at different times on Monday August 26th.

Great Western Railway tweeted Monday morning just before 8am that a person had been hit by a train between Bristol Temple Meads and Bath Spa and that all lines were blocked.

The railway service said journeys may be delayed, cancelled or altered and that disruption was expected until 9am. The lines, however, reopened just after 8.30am.

A British Transport Police spokesman has since said that another person was hit by a train near Parson Street station, Bristol, at around 4pm.

This person was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics. The death is being treated as ‘non-suspicious’.

A British Transport Police (BTP) spokesperson said: ‘BTP officers attended Parson Street railway station on Monday 26th August 2019 after a report that a person had been struck by a train.

‘Officers from BTP and Avon and Somerset police attended the incident, which was reported to police at 4pm and is currently being treated as non-suspicious.

‘Paramedics from the South Western ambulance service also attended but the person was pronounced dead at the scene.

‘A file will be prepared for the coroner.’

A spokesman for GWR said that the train at Parson Street was a CrossCountry train.

  • On CrossCountry trains’ Twitter page, it says that there was disruption between Bristol Temple Meads and Taunton due to an incident at around 4pm.

The railway service said that all train lines were blocked, the emergency services were dealing with an incident and that disruption would continue until 6pm. The lines, however, reopened at 5.20pm.

The condition of the person hit between Bristol and Bath is not known.