Isle of Wight Labour Party parliamentary spokesperson, Julian Critchley, shares this latest news. Ed
This morning (Friday), Island Labour parliamentary spokesperson, Julian Critchley, joined RMT members’ picket line outside Ryde Esplanade station.
The RMT Union are striking over a dispute with railway companies over issues of passenger safety. Shortly after New Year, South Western Railway, who run the Island Line from Ryde to Shanklin, were called in before the independent transport regulator to explain their recent poor performance. The strike by RMT members is designed to fight attempts by the company to remove guards from their trains.
An RMT spokesperson, said,
“Our reasons for striking are purely for passenger safety. The guard doesn’t just open and close the doors: they assist disabled passengers; they sell tickets; give information for onward travel; they assist the driver in the event of an emergency; they can if needed, evacuate the train; they assist unwell passengers; they keep passengers safe from drunk abusive passengers; and they ensure the train operates to current safety requirements. All this is put at risk without a guard on board.”
Mr Critchley said,
“It’s essential to show solidarity with the union members on this issue. Quite clearly our national rail network is in crisis. Privatised train companies have hugely increased fares to passengers, and now seem willing to place passengers at risk in order to maintain profit margins. I want to travel on safe trains, and that means supporting RMT in its fight to maintain appropriate staffing.
“It is farcical that the only country in the world whose government isn’t allowed to own British railways is the British government. We’ve only recently seen the outrageous subsidy bunged to Richard Branson for his failure on the East Coast line. The Government also recently threw millions at Southern Rail.
“This is the worst kind of crony capitalism, where profits are privatised while losses have to be covered by the ordinary taxpayer. The next Labour government will take our railways back into public ownership, and run them for the benefit of citizens, not overseas shareholders.”