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Rail union raises safety fears after scab bus workers plan to run trains during strike action

RAIL workers have called for an investigation by safety regulators after operator East Midlands Railway allegedly called in scab bus workers to run train services during strike action tomorrow.

The company and rail union RMT are in a dispute over safety on trains and on-board train managers will hold their second Sunday of strike action tomorrow.

In a separate dispute senior conductors will enter their fourth month of Sunday strikes over pay and contract issues.

RMT has written to Ian Prosser, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Railways, calling on him to intervene and warned the company’s action “will put lives at risk.”

‎In the letter RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said reports that bus service co-ordinators would be managing trains were “very disturbing.” 

He wrote: “The safety implications of inexperienced, poorly trained bus workers having responsibility for hundreds of train passengers does not bear thinking about.

“I am concerned that it is just a matter of time before a serious incident takes place.

“The bus coordinators and others have not had the usual training, and this endangers other staff and the travelling public.”

He said the company has insisted that the replacement staff are adequately trained, but added: “RMT dispute that the contingency guards are sufficiently trained or have sufficient relevant experience and we therefore condemn EMR for their cavalier attitude to passenger safety.

“Because I fear that using these workers could lead to a serious incident, I write to you to request that you intervene to resolve this issue.”

An East Midlands Railway spokesperson said the contingency plans have been fully validated by professional heads of safety and independently reviewed by The Office of Rail and Road. 

“Furthermore, all contingency guards that we intend to use are fully safety competent to robust agreed railway safety standards — standards which are regularly assessed,” they said.
 

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