Letter: MP questioned over ‘condemnation’ of rail strike

A regular commuter on Island Line trains has shared an open letter to Isle of Wight MP, Bob Seely, asking him to clarify a number of points following his recent condemnation of strike action.

island line trains at shanklin people getting on

We always welcome a Letter to the Editor to share with our readers – unsurprisingly they don’t always reflect the views of this publication. If you have something you’d like to share, get in touch and of course, your considered comments are welcome below. Donna Drozd of Ventnor shares this open letter to Isle of Wight Conservative MP, Bob Seely. Ed


Dear Mr Seely

Due to a very busy work schedule, this is the first opportunity I have had to request some clarification and sources appertaining to a quote that you released to the local media just preceeding the South Western Railways staff strike on 8th and 9th November 2017, and I quote:-

“South Western Railway, which runs Island line, has made it absolutely clear it will not remove guards from trains. No-one is losing their job. Despite this, the union is prepared to walk out for 48 hours on Wednesday and Thursday.

“This strike is a needless and selfish attempt to disrupt other peoples’ lives.

“This industrial action has nothing to do with rail safety and all to do with opposing the government while using Islanders as pawns.”
(Source – Isle of Wight County Press – 7th November 2017)

Seely: “I condemn it”
I note that OnTheWight included the beginning of your statement, which the IWCP didn’t as:-

“I am very disappointed that this strike is taking place. I condemn it. I do not believe it has anything to do with the Island”
(Source – OnTheWight – 7th November 2017)

Some clarity please
Just to simplify the issue and where I would appreciate both clarity and sourcing, I am breaking down the quote:-

  1. “South Western Railway, which runs Island Line, has made it absolutely clear it will not remove guards from trains”.

    I would be most grateful if you provide the source for this claim as it directly contradicts the email that I received from South Western Railways on the 9th October 2017 advising otherwise, which states they are “currently unable to provide a definitive answer to your question about guards on our trains”.

  2. “No-one is losing their job. Despite this, the union is prepared to walk out for 48 hours on Wednesday and Thursday”.

    Again, I would be most grateful if you could provide the source that all employees are protected by South Western Railways, as per the protection of keeping guards on trains which again condradicts the email I received on the 9th October 2017.

  3. “This strike is a needless and selfish attempt to disrupt other peoples’ lives”.

    I strongly disagree Bob and I say that as someone who uses South Western Railways to get to work. I find it an interesting perspective to make such a statement. Please would you advise when you consulted with the 30 Island Line staff who partook in the strike for their perspective on being called “selfish”?

  4. “This industrial action has nothing to do with rail safety and all to do with opposing the government while using Islanders as pawns.”

    I am an Islander and a commuter. This has everything to do with rail safety. As an Islander, I am not a “pawn” – I am an extremely concerned railway user who knows the reality of oversubscribed services being understaffed and therefore unsafe. Again, please can I ask when you consulted with Island Line staff or Union representatives to draw this conclusion?

    On the note of “rail safety”, please can I enquire as to why the largest constituency in the UK has the oldest trains – 1938 rolling stock to be precise! Particularly in the light of the recent Ryde Pier train fire. This really isn’t an acceptable standard for either residents or tourists.

  5. “I am very disappointed that this strike is taking place. I condemn it. I do not believe it has anything to do with the Island”.

    Condemn is a very strong word Bob. There are quite a few things that I condemn but a democratic decision to strike on the grounds of rail safety and the protection of workers rights is certainly not of them. I feel like I am asking the same question again, but please advise when you met and consulted with Island Line staff and Union representatives to a) condemn it and b) decide it has nothing to do with the Island. Given our antiquated rail stock I would have thought that would have been obvious.

  6. Finally, as it is directly related to the issue, our Prime Minister regularly refers to our “Industrial Strategy”, almost on a weekly basis. Please can you furnish me with a copy and the references to the Isle of Wight highlighted.

Thank you, I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely,

Donna Drozd

Image: tompagenet under CC BY 2.0

Monday, 20th November, 2017 8:14pm

By

ShortURL: http://wig.ht/2fOY

Filed under: Government, Island-wide, Letter to the Editor

Any views or opinions presented in the comments below are solely those of the author and do not represent those of OnTheWight.

Leave a Reply

5 Comments on "Letter: MP questioned over ‘condemnation’ of rail strike"

Email updates?
Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Steve Goodman

Also a reminder that Bob’s colleagues in the daft Department for Transport engineered the very expensive and disruptive 18-month Southern rail dispute and arranged for taxpayers rather than the company to bankroll the high cost of the strikes and the recent settlement.

(As reported in the current Private Eye; 1457, p.18)

minnieb

Largest county in the UK? When did that happen? IW is debatably the smallest county when the tide is in; must have gone out a very long way!

donna

My error! But there again I was writing this letter at the end of a very long week; I meant the largest constituency in the UK, from a populous perspective. Thanks so much for pointing that out though. Regardless of the erroneous wording, it doesn’t really change the issue of the age of the train stock.

profoundlife

For all this talk of safety, I thought it was hilarous that all those concerns were put to the side with a 28% pay increase. Principled indeed!

donna
Just to clarify, you are referring to Southern Rail, owned by Govia Thameslink Railway. This letter is referring to South Western Railways. Different disputes. However, the following is the full details of the agreement reached by GVT and Aslef, as detailed by Mick Whelan,on the 16th of November 2017:- (For note, I am not a Southern user so cannot offer an informed opinion, however I see –… Read more »
wpDiscuz