SOUTHERN are running the equivalent of a 1,000 trains a year with just a driver and no other member of staff on board, RMT revealed yesterday.
The analysis was released by the RMT as the union enters ‘conciliation talks’ with Southern today.
RMT guards have organised a series of strikes over the last six months to keep the guards on the trains.
They vow to continue their struggle despite the TUC organised betrayal, where the RMT was kept out of talks and pressure was put by Southern and the TUC for Aslef to settle. The Southern-TUC-Aslef deal accepts the removal of the guards from the trains.
However this sell-out deal still has to be voted on by Aslef members and may well be rejected.
The RMT released figures yesterday showing that safety critical guards were absent from an average of three services a day in recent weeks. This far exceeds all estimations by Southern and breaks all of their promises.
Two weeks ago RMT revealed that six times more Southern services were travelling without a second member of staff than was promised. At that time the company tried to dismiss the figures as ‘exceptional’ by claiming last-minute changes to some services caused by the industrial action and the drivers’ overtime ban had displaced the on-board supervisor so that, on occasions, they had not been able to join the train.
However, the new figures provided by rail workers and passengers are from the period (20, 21, 22, 25 January and 1, 3, 4, 5 and 6 February) when there wasn’t any industrial action and show that at least 26 trains did not have a scheduled guard. This means that an average of three services a day were operating without a guard. Three services a day is the equivalent of 1,000 a year.
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said: ‘These figures confirm that as a bare minimum the equivalent of a thousand services will no longer have a second member of staff in addition to the driver. That’s a thousand journeys where a disabled passenger may not be able to get on or off the train or where passengers and the driver are at increased risk from anti-social behaviour or if something goes wrong, such as a derailment or fire.
‘These are only the instances that have been reported and I have to say that our members think these figures are the thin end of the wedge and instances of driver only trains are far, far more widespread and increasing. Guaranteeing a second member of safety critical staff on every train is the only way you can guarantee access for all and a safer journey for passengers.’