Socialist Worker

Rail bosses threaten safety with their lies

by Raymie Kiernan
Issue No. 2512

Protesters at Victoria station in London

Protesters at Victoria station in London 


Scotrail train guards struck again last Sunday in a dispute over the extension of driver only operation (DOO) on Scotland’s rail network, which is operated by Abellio.

The RMT union members are striking to defend the safety role that guards play on the railways.

Bosses want to paint it as a dispute of workers upset that they won’t get to press the button to open and close doors if DOO is extended. This is deliberately misleading propaganda from Abellio.

It is part of a drive to increase profit through deskilling and it’s not the only firm playing at this game.

In the south east bosses at Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) are at war with rail unions over extending DOO.

GTR has the full backing of the Tory government.

Certainty

It introduced an “amended timetable” on Southern on Monday “to provide more certainty to passengers” after months of scandalously low quality service.

Most media regurgitate GTR’s line that this is caused by “train crew sickness and a reduction in the uptake of overtime”.

Incredibly the plan to cut 341 services from the timetable out of the 2,250 it runs daily is presented as a positive act.

If it all sounds a bit suspect, that’s because it is.

What lies behind the “issues with train crew availability” is not “sickness” but a company not employing enough staff and punishing those it does employ for striking.

Workers are fighting to defend safety on the railway for everyone and deserve full backing.

And the next time bosses use the rail safety body, RSSB, to argue that there is “no increased safety risk” from DOO, just remember what bosses don’t say is that they fund RSSB.


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