THE SOUTH Western Railway workers’ strike was rock solid yesterday morning in their escalating battle to keep the guards on the train. They are out on strike every day this week.
Passengers who board a train which only has a driver on board are in danger, especially if there is a crash, rail union RMT warns.
General Secretary Mick Cash said that South Western Railway is ‘prepared to gamble with their passengers’ well-being in the name of profit.’
He added: ‘RMT has campaigned relentlessly for the principle of putting safety on the railway first, and the current stalemate over the safety-critical role of the guard on SWR trains cannot be allowed to drag on any longer.
‘Our members have been left with no choice but to go ahead with strike action throughout this week. They are angry and frustrated that, despite suspending action in good faith and entering into talks in a positive and constructive manner, South Western Railway have dragged their heels and failed to bolt down an agreement that matches up to our expectations on the guard guarantee.
‘We thank the public for their continuing support and understanding that this dispute is all about safety, access and passenger service on Britain’s increasingly violent and dangerous railways.’
Meanwhile there was an incident at Glasgow Queen Street station yesterday morning when black smoke started to pour out of the front of a train.
RMT’s Cash said: ‘This morning we had a vintage HST train pouring out thick black smoke forcing the closure of one of Scotland’s busiest train stations.
‘We are supposed to be spending millions of pounds on investment in our railways – yet we end up using clapped out, decommissioned Inter-City trains that are 50 years old and that are in no way environmentally friendly or fit for purpose.
‘Scotland’s railways are nothing more than a shambles under the current privatised and fragmented system. We need to properly invest in a railway that guarantees reliability and performance and which is safe and environmentally friendly and, most important of all, is controlled and run by the public sector in the public interest.
‘It is time for Abellio Scotrail to go.’