Association of Train Opersting Companies: Friday February 4, 2000
Train Operators will not compromise passenger safety
Britain's passenger train operators today told the Rail Maritime and Transport Union (RMT) that passenger safety will continue to
remain the industry's number one priority and will not be compromised - whatever the consequences.
This message came after the RMT advised train operators of its intentions to ballot its members to support industrial action over changes to the role of the guard.
The rules were revised in 1999 by Railtrack after wide industry consultation and reflect lessons learnt from the accident at Maidenhead.
The changes to the Railtrack Rule Book, by which all train companies must abide, require the guard where possible to remain with the passengers whilst the
driver carries out safety procedures to protect the train in the event of a breakdown or accident.
ATOC spokesperson Steve Bence said: "The decision to push ahead with a ballot is highly disappointing as we believe the RMT, like ourselves, has rail
safety as its top priority and we should be working together to deliver this.
"We have already offered to jointly commission an independent review to reassess the effect of the rule change and the implications for rail safety. We
will go ahead with the reassessment even though the RMT have declined to support it."
Mr Bence rejected any suggestions that the job security of the guard was threatened by these rule changes.
"Enhancements to rail safety will be best delivered by dialogue and not conflict. Train operators and the RMT want the best for passengers. Industrial
action is not the way to achieve this."
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- Association of Train Operating Companies