'They're putting cost before safety', says RMT general secretary on Southern and ScotRail

'They're putting cost before safety', says RMT general secretary on Southern and ScotRail

Southern and ScotRail staff have got on a 24-hour strike

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The RMT union general secretary Mike Cash says cost-cutting is endangering passengers, as 24-hour strikes take place on Southern and ScotRail services.

Members of the RMT voted to protest against driver-only trains, and changes in the roles of conductors. However it's also been claimed staff shortages have been affecting services in recent weeks, after staff called in sick.

General secretary Mike Cash claims passengers have been affected by the franchise for a long time.

"Ever since Govia took over this franchise, I think you'll find passengers have been getting a poor service," he told Julia Hartley-Brewer. "That's because they're cutting costs and putting their profit before people.

"And now we find out that the government are directly cancelling train services."

"Part of the drive to cut costs is they want to get rid of the conductor off the train," he added.

"As far was we're concerned, it's putting cost before safety, and it's at the heart of the issue of what's driving both Govia and the government’s agenda, which is cost cutting.

"If you have a safe railway you need people to make sure the safety works.

"One of the biggest safety risks at this time is we've got crowded trains, crowded platforms there’s people getting on and off the trains, and the reality is you need a second safety critical person as well as the driver.

"The driver can't do everything. A ticket examiner can't and will not do that, because they're not trained."

The secretary also hit back at the company for claiming staff previously calling in sick is the problem.

"They company are seeking to blame their staff. They are seeking to put them in the frontline. It's the mismanagement of the company that's the issue, not the staff. I really do abhor that they're blaming employees for their own inadequacies."