11 Days Remaining

Saturday 20th
posted by Steve Sweeney in Britain

DELEGATES to the TUC Disabled Workers’ Conference called on commuters yesterday to rally behind the party which will renationalise the railways and keep safety-critical train guards.

TSSA delegate Ray Spiteri made the call as conference debated a motion opposing rail privateers’ attempts to introduce driver-only-operated (DOO) trains.

He slammed plans to impose “this unsafe practice” and urged solidarity with “our brothers and sisters in [rail union] RMT” in their fight to keep safety-critical guards on the trains.

RMT delegate Jennifer Aggrey-Fynn told conference that a train guard saved her life when she suffered a mini-stroke and collapsed.

She said that the guard and platform manager caught her as she was about to fall off a train after her legs gave way.

She also warned that trains without guards would make trains less accessible for disabled passengers.

Tribute was paid to the “rank-and-file Aslef members who have refused to cross our picket lines and the fantastic support from disabled people.”

Mr Spiteri told conference how a guard had saved the life of a man who had an epileptic fit on a train and had fallen into a coma. “Without the safety-critical guard he would have died,” he added.

And public-sector union Unison delegate Ian Scott-Burdon warned: “As a deaf person I wouldn’t be able to follow a route.

“British Sign Language is my first language, English is my second.

“I wouldn’t be able to read the maps and if there are any announcements I won’t hear them.”

Ms Aggrey-Fynn told conference to applause: “We are striking again on May 30 and you are all welcome to join our picket lines across the country as we say: ‘No to DOO. Our jobs, your safety’.”