RMT Warns Of “Potentially Lethal” Olympics Rail Proposals

RAIL UNION RMT today registered its total opposition to last minute Olympics rail proposals which the union says are designed to cut corners on existing safety procedures in the event of a broken down train with potentially lethal consequences.

At today’s Traffic Operations Management Standards Committee (TOM SC) proposals were bounced on union reps for temporary working arrangements for failed trains for the duration of the Olympics.

Network Rail have proposed either not to use detonator protection to protect the failed train, or to have the driver’s duties carried out by another ‘competent person’ –most likely to be a Mobile Operations Manager.

No paper was provided at today’s meeting, only a presentation from Network Rail. RMT understands that the main driver behind this proposal is to control the risks arising from possible uncontrolled passenger evacuation. With the lack of any risk assessment being provided we simply cannot accept the assertions made by Network Rail at the TOM SC meeting.

The meeting was informed that additional journey’s will be made during the period of the Olympics (up by 24%) and there was a higher likelihood of train failure. This poses the question that the TOCs will be using trains that are less reliable than is currently acceptable on the railway. If the trains being used are at greater risk of failure RMT argues that they should not leave the depot.

RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said

“Leaving this proposal to such a late stage is typical of the whole rail industry approach to managing the transport system during the period of the Olympics. There has been no consultation with the trade unions on these proposals which leads us to suspect that they have been presented as a fait accompli in the hope they can simply be bulldozed through.

“However, RMT has registered its formal objection and we are now putting that in writing to the company and the authorities demanding a halt to these proposals. RMT will not stand back while corners are cut on Olympics safety at the eleventh hour just because the management have suddenly realized that they are likely to have a spate of broken down and defective trains on their hands as they struggle to cope with demand.”

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