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WEST Midlands Trains workers staged a successful 48-hour stoppage over the weekend in their continuing campaign against the removal of safety-critical guards from trains.
The company is trying to impose driver-only trains on all its services, despite guards’ proven record of protecting vulnerable passengers, assisting the elderly and disabled and helping in emergencies such as derailments and collisions.
The government has made the removal of guards a condition of private operators’ franchises and has also included a clause in them stating that taxpayers will underwrite any losses the operators incur by provoking strike action.
Rail union RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “RMT members once again stood solid, determined and united across the West Midlands Trains franchise as we fight to put the safety-critical role of the guard at the platform/train interface top of the agenda.
“The safety and accessibility of the travelling public is this trade union’s priority and should take priority over the profits of the train operator and we believe that this is an important election issue for the people of the West Midlands.
“We will not allow the drive for profit to override the core issue of safe and accessible services for all on West Midlands Trains and we stand firm on that very basic principle. We will never compromise on the issues of passenger safety and accessibility.”
The union has said it remains available for talks with West Midlands Trains, which is a subsidiary of Dutch state-owned rail operator Abellio.
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