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Labour Claims Support For Health & Safety Yet Voted For Driver Only Trains On Merseyside

Whilst the debate over worker's rights and health and safety at work continues with regard to Brexit, with the Labour leadership stating they will not scrap either and indeed even tighten up such laws and rights; on Merseyside Labour voted to treat staff and train passenger's safety concerns with contempt and vote in favour of the introduction of driver only trains on their rail network!

Furthermore, the Regional mayor, Steve Rotherham sits on the fence and makes no public comment on the matter,and of course stays away from the various public demonstrations held on the strike days by the RMT, traveling members of the public and local MPs such as Dan Carden who support the fight to retain public safety on trains by keeping guards on the trains of Merseyside!

The plan for the new trains was approved by Liverpool City Region Combined Authority – made up of the region’s council leaders and their representatives in December 2016. The city region’s councils are all controlled by Labour!

Since then numerous strike days have taken place and yet the public support for retaining guards on trains has not been dented at all!

Numerous stories of guards on our trains being of major help and support for passengers, and helping to avoid serious consequences such as rape, violence and damage to children's health, not to mention emergency situations for elderly and disabled passengers; have filled local media over the last 18 months.

The RMT has welcomed local Labour MP Dan Carden's supporting speech made in November 2017, and posted this on their website:

The Liverpool Walton Labour MPs has been a solid supporter of the guards and this week  Mr Carden secured a special parliamentary debate to press the case to keep a guard on every train.

The following is a extract from a wide-ranging speech from the MP.

“Despite several days of strike action, the public still overwhelmingly back the guards. The entire trade union movement and the north-west TUC support the guards, and the Labour party’s policy is clear: to oppose any extension of DOO. The Welsh Government have now guaranteed a guard on every train for future franchises, and Scotland has made similar long-term arrangements. The shadow Secretary of State wrote to train operators last week to tell them that a Labour Government would halt any plans to extend DOO. Merseytravel’s former chairman, Mark Dowd, remains fully opposed to removing the guards, saying that “common sense should prevail”.

With the latest day of action having taken place a few days ago, here is local MP Dan Carden, who unlike his predecessor, Steve Rotherham; has given 100% support for the needs of public safety on our trains and condemnation of Merseyrail's plans to remove guards from trains.


Of course, none of this will be a surprise to those who have long campaigned aginst privatisation of our rail networks as profit is put before the health, safety and welfare of staff and of the traveling public - their customers.

But what might be of a surprise to rail passengers on Wirral and Liverpool, is the fact that Meseyrail is not a wholly owned UK company - far from it:

Serco is a UK public listed company providing huge amounts of outsourced public sector services internationally, including the operation of Merseyrail which it own 50% of along with Abellio; the latter of which is the international arm of the Dutch national rail operator Nederlandse Spoorwegen.

Serco has an abissmal safety record and was implicated in the sexujal abuse by it's staff of women at the refuge detainee centre at Yarlswood and was the subject of a Channel Four documentary into the systemic sexual abuse and violence at the centre. It was claimed for years that the comany covered up the criminal behaviour of it's staff.

It runs NHS facilities management services at several NHS hospitals including  Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, Leicester Royal Infirmary, and at Plymouth's Derriford Hospital. The company had the contract for out-of-hours GP services in Cornwall from which it withdrew in December 2013 after the company left the county short of doctors.

Amongst major publicity, Serco stopped running Braintree hospital in Essex as it pulled out of managing GP services and large hospitals, because it could not make enough profit for it's shareholders!

In health services, Serco's difficulties include the poor handling of pathology labs and fatal errors in patient records. At St Thomas' Hospital, the increase in the number of clinical incidents arising from Serco non-clinical management has resulted in patients receiving incorrect and infected blood, as well as patients suffering kidney damage due to Serco providing incorrect data used for medical calculations. 

A Serco employee later revealed that the company had falsified 252 reports to the National Health Service regarding Serco health services in Cornwall.

Whislt that may have nothing to do with running our trains, the fact is that the company's contempt for health and safety and the welfare of the public remains systematic as the above shows. It is therfore of no surprise that it is only too happy to put profit before it's customers - the travelling public; as a policy driver in running Merseyrail!

Source: RMT / Liverpool Echo / Wikipedia / DAily Mirror/ The Guardian / The Independant


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