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Rail Union Launches Safe Trains Campaign With Demonstration

Media Release Rail & Maritime Transport Union 27 September 2017

Rail Union Launches Safe Trains Campaign With Demonstration

More than a hundred members of the Rail and Maritime Transport Union (RMTU) held a demonstration at Auckland’s Britomart station today to launch a campaign to keep the city’s passenger trains safe.

‘’The RMTU represents drivers and on-board crews that staff Auckland passenger trains and we are very concerned at plans by Auckland Transport and the foreign owned multi-national company Transdev to remove permanent on-board Train Managers from trains,” said RMTU Acting General Secretary John Kerr.

“Today’s demonstration is the first step in what will be a relentless campaign in support of keeping Train Managers on our trains”, he said.

“Removing permanent on-board staff from passenger trains is tantamount to ripping up the safety culture on those services: Train Managers play a vital role in the event of all kinds of incidents, including medical emergencies; they enable disabled passengers to travel on the network; and they are critical in deterring bad behaviour by those elements that would otherwise make the travelling public’s experience unpleasant’’ he said.

“Auckland Transport are attempting to appease the public by saying they will recruit so-called ‘Transport Officers’ to patrol the network. Whilst we welcome the presence of more uniformed staff around platforms and so forth this is no replacement for safety critical permanent on-board staff. If the Transport Officers were to be deployed in addition to Train Managers, and if they were to be given the kind of powers that transport police exercise in other countries that would represent an improvement, as it is the current plans are far from that, ’’ he said.

“Transport Officers people won’t have the necessary powers to intervene in the event of incidents such as the recent graffiti bombing of a train, nor is there any guarantee they will be on the platform or train at any given time. For Auckland Transport to try and spin the deployment of Transport Officers as an improvement to public safety, whilst at the same time the plan is to remove permanent on-board staff, is disingenuous and misleading,’’ he said.

“The RMTU is pleased at the way the public are backing our stance on passenger safety. Auckland City Councillor Mike Lee spoke in support of our campaign, as did Public Transport Users’Association’s (PTUA) Jon Reeves. A number of disabled passengers came along to support us, including two wheelchair-bound passengers, it’s great to have such overwhelming public support” he said.

ENDS


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