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TSSA solidarity with safety strike at Southern

11 October 2016

There are lies, damn lies and Southern!

Responding to GTR Chief Executive, Charles Horton attempting to blame rail workers for the problems on the Southern network during an interview on Radio 4's Today programme this morning, TSSA General Secretary Manuel Cortes said:

"There are lies, damn lies and Southern! Since Horton's GTR company took over the running of Southern just over a year ago, they have slashed trains and transformed the busiest train commuter area in Britain into a service that runs up to 279pc over capacity for which passengers are paying the highest fares.

"This is not the fault of those who work on it. This is entirely the fault of the management who run it and the Tory's Department for `Transport for allowing the busiest rail commuter area in Britain to be turned into a veritable cash-cow for it's Go-Ahead/Keolis bosses instead of a viable or safe service service for passengers.

"Since taking over just over a year ago, GTR have have successfully bled £100m of profit from the Southern, But they've taken the profit at the expense of a viable and safe service which is why Southern, in the same short period, now tops every rail passenger dissatisfaction survey.

"And to max this years profit targets they are now compromising essential rail security measures. Rail staff are on trains, platforms and stations primarily for public safety.

"As passenger numbers increase so, crowd safety issues become more important so more - not less - staff are needed. Guards aren't there just to clip tickets. In these days of heightened security, no one would want to get on a plane without adequate safety staff. The same should be true for trains.

"Unions and our members are being bashed by the likes of Charles Horton and his free-market backers in the DfT because they are spinning against us precisely because we are the last remaining guardians of passenger and industry safety.

"It's why the RMT have the solidarity of TSSA members this week. Rail safety is too important to be left to smart technology or free market ideologues or Tories.

"Keeping rail travel safe will always depend on a properly staffed rail service - whether you are travelling from Hove to Harrow, John O'Groats to Inverness or Wrexham to Dolgellau."

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