Tuesday, November 21 2017

Published on November 9 2017. Opinions
Rail strikes, the MLAG view
ASLEF may have come to an agreement, but RMT have not

Rail strikes, the MLAG view

So, ALEF drivers have been bribed into accepting a very lucrative pay deal to take on the considerable responsibility of driving and, most significantly in this context, closing the doors of their trains: also, on occasions, being the only member of rail staff onboard in the event of problems. Meanwhile, the RMT continue with their industrial action to get a safe railway for us all to travel on.

The result of over a year of discontent and (more particularly from the point of view of train users) horrendous service while Southern and the RMT take their entrenched positions is continued stalemate. The ASLEF cave-in is unlikely to have any effect on the RMT position – and why should it ?

What passengers need is to know there is someone onboard who has been trained for the line, trained in safety and will be there in the event of issues whether they be on closing the doors or anti-social behaviour of passengers. Southern say they want there to be a second member of staff onboard but in the event no-one is available (say because a train was running late so the rostered On Board Supervisor missed the connection): but is it adequate to say if there is no-one available then lets run the train anyway and hope there’s no problem. All agree each train needs a driver – so, for example, let the driver and the Guard/ Conductor be connected for the day so they travel together, then the situation wouldn’t arise.

Having said all this, MLAG (of course) wants the strike action to stop because it creates chaos for rail passengers just trying to go about their normal business. How can this be achieved ? The Government is, financially, the train operator – after all, the management contract entered into between the Department for Transport and Southern means the Government is bank-rolling the operator’s costs so we, the taxpayer, are suffering the inconvenience of the strike and the cost of it. It is the Government that should be intervening to stop the chaos.

Photo: library image

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  1. Peter says:

    I would like the MLAG to take the position that if no second person is available, the train will run anyway. It is absurd to suggest that in less than ideal circumstances the whole service will be cancelled. The service is bad enough – timetable, train breakdowns, without adding yet another reason why the train might not come.

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