There’s an important petition doing the rounds on social media. It’s about our rail network and an issue that affects every person who uses it. So, here’s why you should get involved.
An important petition
As the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) tweeted, the petition calls for “fully staffed and accessible stations”:
Violent crime and assaults on rail passengers and staff continue to rise. In 2018/19 there was a 16% rise in violent crime on our railways.
Please sign this petition, and call on the Govt, TOC's and @TfL
to ensure fully staffed and accessible stations. https://t.co/6e89MRnQRg pic.twitter.com/jrP0CfldZd
— RMT (@RMTunion) January 25, 2020
The petition has clear aims:
- “Stop the cuts to station staffing across the railways and on London Underground”.
- “Stop ticket office closures and cuts to ticket office opening hours”.
- “Ensure all stations are fully staffed and accessible for passengers”.
- “An end to the violence against passengers and railway workers”.
You can sign the petition here.
Creaking under the strain
It also laid bare some shocking statistics. Not least, the RMT said that:
In 2018/19 there was a 16% rise in violent crime on our railways. Despite this, train companies are increasingly attempting to close station ticket offices, cut hours and staffing at stations and increase levels of lone working.
The Morning Star reported that the situation in London is dire:
Assaults on… employees shot up from 505 in 2016 to 628 in 2019 — an increase of approximately 25 per cent.
Knife-related violence against workers also jumped by 84 per cent, from 19 incidents in 2016 to 35 in 2019.
But the rot goes deeper than this. As Engineering and Technology reported, an RMT report found that:
- Only 10% of UK stations are fully staffed.
- 45% are staffed “some of the time”.
- The other 45% are never staffed.
In the capital, Transport for London (TfL) is going to cut the opening hours of London Overground ticket offices. So, across the UK our rail network’s staffing levels are shrinking, while the need for them increases.
Disabled people: hit hardest?
A lack of staff often hits disabled people the hardest. As campaigner and disability rights activist Paula Peters tweeted:
#StaffOurStations disabled people need fully staffed & accessible stations safety is paramount. With violent crime rising unstaffed stations put us all at risk please sign this & RT @MarshadeCordova @BnsJaneCampbell @DisabledCuts @imajsaclaimant @ABCommuters https://t.co/uCPGQOedEI
— paula peters (@paulapeters2) February 2, 2020
Our rail network is all too often not good for disabled people. For example, only 21% of stations have accessible ticket offices:
The privatisation game
The RMT petition affects us all. As its general secretary Mick Cash said:
It has never been more apparent that the privatised and fragmented railway has failed to deliver an affordable, accessible and reliable service for passengers.
Violence on the railways is soaring, yet the private train companies continue to close ticket offices and cut staffing at stations. These damaging cuts only serve to benefit their shareholders’ profits, not passengers.
RMT is calling on the Government to prove that it is serious about improving the rail passenger experience
So, by signing this petition we’re lending our support to the RMT. But also, we’re sending a message to the Tories that our rail network should not be compromised.
Featured image via the Association of British Commuters
- Sign the RMT petition.
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