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Delude Retreat Indemnify Prevaricate Squander

Return to Railtrack model?

In evidence to the Potters Bar inquest, RMT Senior Assistant General Secretary Mick Cash has warned that current reductions in maintenance staff numbers are leading to a situation where a further serious rail disaster is becoming more likely.

Photo: OLU

The union claims that sub-contracting is playing a major part in compromising safety standards. Although many major contracts are now back in house, others such as possessions and renewals are still contracted out. The use of agency staff remains significant within the maintenance organisation - particularly weekend engineering work - and has helped to create a culture of inadequate maintenance and inspection training. The RMT says that following privatisation, contractors were less inclined to spend money on training staff who may well move on to a competitor.

According to RMT General Secretary Bob Crow, "The Potters Bar inquest cannot be divorced from the reality of what is going on politically at the moment with massive cuts to the transport budget of up to 40% being considered and right-wing commentators pushing for the sell-off of Network Rail in a return to the lethal, privatised Railtrack model that was a major factor in a number of disasters including Potters Bar. Network Rail is already slashing maintenance and renewals work and we know that the new Government will put them under pressure to cut even deeper with disastrous consequences."

He went on to insist that the RMT would "continue to make the case for properly-funded, publicly-controlled railways run in the interests of quality of services and passenger and staff safety, and the Potters Bar inquest is a timely reminder for all of us of just what happens when the dash for profits takes over and the private sector grab the controls.”

...the Potters Bar inquest is a timely reminder for all of us of just what happens when the dash for profits takes over...

Story added 15th July 2010

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