Rail staff ‘bearing brunt of service cancellations anger’
RMT general secretary Mick Cash launched a blistering attack on rail firms’ failure.
Rail staff are continuing to bear the brunt of passengers’ anger over delays and cancellations to services, a union has warned.
The Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) said its members have faced abuse since new timetables were introduced last month.
The anger continued on Monday, especially on Northern, where an emergency timetable was launched, said the union.
General secretary Mick Cash said: “From the feedback on the ground and the stream of comments on social media it is clear that the so-called emergency timetables on both Northern and Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) have just piled failure onto failure.
If you draw up an emergency timetable that cancels trains to avoid cancelling trains and yet still cancel trains, you are not fit to run a bath, let alone a railway. Mick Cash, RMT
“Once again it is RMT members at the sharp end, bearing the brunt of public anger at this latest shambles.
“If you draw up an emergency timetable that cancels trains to avoid cancelling trains and yet still cancel trains, you are not fit to run a bath, let alone a railway, and that is the absurd position that passengers are in this morning across both the north and the south.
“On any measure, both Northern and GTR must be in breach of their secret contractual obligations to provide a service to their fare-paying customers. They should be removed and the private franchises brought under public control.”
Mick Whelan, general secretary of the train drivers’ union Aslef, said: “Our thanks go out particularly to the drivers and to all the staff of Northern Rail and GTR Southern, who have continued to work hard to provide a public service, in difficult circumstances, under great pressure, and sometimes subjected to much abuse, during the difficulties created by the failures of the Department for Transport, Network Rail, and the train operating companies when they introduced new timetables.
“We are keeping an eye on the situation but would ask the travelling public to place the blame fairly and squarely where it belongs, on the shoulders of those in charge, and not on those of us who are working at the sharp end of the railway, and who are also trapped on trains, not knowing when we will get to our destinations or when we will get home.”