THE RMT transport union yesterday called on Southern rail staff to stand together and reject a divisive and tainted company plan to destroy safety and access.
It urged staff to continue to stand united and reject the latest company and government proposals to extend Driver Only Operation (DOO) which would destroy the principles of safe operation and access to services for all.
Staff on Southern rail have stood together for nearly 20 months now in the teeth of attacks on the safety culture and have repeatedly rejected plans cobbled together by Southern/GTR, under the direction of the government, which would give the green light to axing the second safety-critical member of staff from services at the whim of the bosses and which would leave disabled passengers stranded.
RMT is calling on staff to maintain that sense of unity. In a letter to members the RMT reveals that the latest tainted company deal on Southern rail attempts to link the most blatant of attacks on safety to increased pay while rolling back the boundaries on DOO on a scale not seen before in any of the earlier proposals.
RMT’s letter sets out a series of key bullet points:
• The deal accepts the wholly bogus principle that it can be beneficial for passengers and drivers to run trains without an OBS (onboard supervisor).
• The deal accepts the principle that the second person shall not be safety critical which is in line with plans being proposed by the other companies seeking to introduce DOO.
• It refers to safety trained staff – meaning that the second person on the train will not be safety critical. RMT has received no proposals for the competencies of the second person.
• The deal wholly undermines the arrangements for disabled passengers and will leave many stranded or denied access.
• The deal gives the driver the responsibility for dealing with disabled passengers on top of driving the train and carrying out the current driver functions.
• The deal gives no guarantee as to how many services will run completely DOO and will give the company a free hand to roll back the boundaries at will.
• The deal means that drivers are being forced to make a choice between a £14,000 pay rise and their workmates, the principles of rail safety and the access rights of disabled passengers.
This is a company deal that clearly gives the whip hand to the bosses.