Last week this blog covered the fact that ‘Labour’ mayors of two major, mostly Labour-supporting cities – London and Liverpool – appear to have forgotten which party they were elected to represent. London mayor Sadiq Khan is backing calls by the Tory government for striking railworkers to return to work, while Liverpool mayor Joe Anderson has gone a step further and has confirmed and defended a decision to move Merseyrail to DOO (driver-only operation).
In both cities, the authorities’ aim is cost-cutting, while the unions are fighting not only to save jobs but to maintain safety, as guards are vital to the safest operation of train services. Drivers are, correctly, primarily occupied with driving. Guards are responsible for everything to do with safety that do not involve the actual operation of the train and are regularly responsible for preventing accidents, as well as on occasion for protecting passengers from violent or sexual assault, maintaining passenger safety in the event of evacuation and so on.
The decision to disregard both passenger safety and the livelihoods of hard-working train staff – replacing these with, in the case of Liverpool, ‘customer service’ staff that may (or may not) be on one train in four.
Now locals on Merseyside have started a petition to the mayor, asking him to keep guards on trains.
If you live in or travel to Merseyside, please make sure to sign the petition and ask your friends and neighbours to do so.
If you don’t, sign anyway – you might go there by train one day and need help; and if Merseyrail and London get away with downgrading safety in the name of cost-saving, it’s only a matter of time before your own local authorities, cash-starved by the Tories, start considering it to the detriment of the safety of yourself and your loved ones.
Even if you never use a train and never intend to, do support this petition – if only to arrest the constant erosion of everything in the name of cost-cuttings by politicians who know the price of everything and the value of nothing.
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