A representative of railway staff has hit back at Southern Railways for blaming its employees for the failings of management over the withdrawal of around 150 services per day under what it called an “emergency” timetable.
Mick Cash, the general secretary of the Rail, Maritime and Transport workers’ union, the RMT, said that Southern’s emergency timetable was “the product of management failure on an epic scale”, adding that the rail managers have behaved disgracefully and cynically.
Southern, part of the Govia Thameslink Railway company, this afternoon announced that it will be reinstating around 100 of the axed train services from next Monday, with further contracted services to be reintroduced over following weeks. For the past six weeks, passengers of the cancelled services have been entitled to claim compensation, estimated to amount to millions of pounds, which has to be paid from DafT, the Department for Transport.
Among the services it was announced today are to be reinstated from September 5 will be London Bridge to Beckenham Junction trains, the absence of which has created additional crowding on services to and from London out of East Croydon, plus trains between Sutton and Streatham via Wimbledon, and all inner-London “metro” services.
But Cash accused the train company chiefs of scapegoating his members by saying that the emergency timetable was introduced on July 11 because of “unprecedented levels of train crew sickness”.
Cash said this evening, “The fact is that services wouldn’t have been slashed in the first place if GTR had employed enough staff to fill the rosters.
“The emergency timetable, large chunks of which remain in place, is a product of management failure on this franchise on an epic scale. Trying to set staff up in the firing line for the top bosses’ failures is disgraceful and cynical behaviour by Southern.
“Southern trying to blame their own gross managerial incompetence on their front-line staff just shows what a basket case franchise GTR is. Our disputes over guards and ticket offices are about putting safety and services before company profits.”
Purely coincidentally, we are sure, Southern’s announcement came on the day after large parts of London Bridge Station, principally those which serve Southern and Thameslink services operated by GTR, were opened after four years of multi-billion pound engineering works to modernise the commuter hub.
Figures as politically disparate as Croydon South’s Tory MP, Chris Philp, and Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn have all called for GTR to have its services taken back into public management.
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