An A-level student is taking on the government over our railways

Theresa May and a Southern Rail train
Support us and go ad-free

An A-level student has launched a petition over a controversial policy about our railways. The government may wish to take notice. Because the petition has already got so many signatures it will have to respond.

All aboard the petition express!

Ben Spiers is an A-level student. As the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) told The Canary, his law teacher asked his class to start a petition on something they feel strongly about. So Spiers chose the issue of driver-only operated (DOO) trains. And the petition, which you can sign here, is taking off. By 10am on Monday 12 November, Spiers had over 20,000 signatures. But the issue of DOO trains is such a contentious one it’s of little surprise so many people have signed it.

A contentious issue

Trade unions like the RMT have been in an ongoing battle with train companies over DOO trains. The introduction of DOO trains would mean the scrapping of conductors across many routes. The RMT claims DOO trains put passenger safety at risk:

But Southern Rail, for example, says the trains will still have ‘on-board supervisors’.

The RMT, along with campaign groups Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC), and the Association of British Commuters (ABC) have been warning about the risks of scrapping guards. For example, disabled passengers would have to book support 24 hours in advance to get on and off trains. The ABC claims this would breach the Equality Act 2010. But Southern Rail told The Canary that disabled passengers can still turn up without notice and expect support. It’s just that by booking in advance, the railway can give them additional assistance.

‘Profiting from danger’

But Spiers isn’t buying what the train companies are saying. He told the ABC:

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

I don’t think companies should be profiting from exposing their passengers to danger.

The petition is getting some high-profile support:

It even caught BBC News‘ attention. As it pointed out:

The number of signatures means Ben Spiers is now guaranteed a government response to his campaign.

And ultimately, Spiers and the RMT hope the petition will get 100,000 signatures. Because the government may then hold a debate on the issue:

If Spiers’ petition reaches 100,000 signatures, it will put the government in an awkward position. Because while DOO trains are a decision private train operators take, public outcry and claims of legal breaches may force the government to act. So, if you haven’t – sign away. As at the very least it’s going to make the government squirm.

Get Involved!

Sign Spiers’ petition.

Join The Canary, so we can keep holding the powerful to account.

Featured image via Guardian News – YouTube and My another account – Wikimedia 

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us

Comments are closed