Rail passengers faced travel chaos on Monday with strikes and other problems as the country went back to work amid warnings from union bosses over safety.
People travelling on the South Western Railway had their journeys disrupted by trains that suffered break-downs, while signal and points failures added to the disruption.
Walkouts and breakdowns
Strike action saw walkouts across the rail network with Southern, Merseyrail and Arriva Rail North all affected. Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) were walking out over issues including the role of guards and driver-only trains.
On Southern alone, union members have walked out on 34 days over the past 16 months.
Union bosses say they are striking because they claim passenger safety is taking a back seat to company profits. They called for ministers to bring an end to the ‘great British rail rip-off’.
Concerns over passenger safety
Mick Cash, general secretary of the RMT, said. “These strikes are about putting passenger safety before private profit and those that seek to undermine the safety culture on our railways in order to fill their own pockets should be called to account and forced back to the negotiating table.
“It’s now time for Chris Grayling (Transport Secretary) and this minority Government to stop the great British rail rip-off, end the wholesale destruction of our rail safety culture and force his private contractors back to the negotiating table.”
A spokesperson for the Rail Delivery Group said train companies have endeavoured to keep the network running smoothly.
Paul Plummer, chief executive of the Rail Delivery Group, which represents train companies and Network Rail, said: “Train companies are doing all they can to keep passengers moving on the day many students return to school or college, and people are going back to work.”
Reference: Belfast Telegraph
Date Published: September 7, 2017
Author: Jonathan Brown