Sunday, June 29, 2008
THREAT OF TICKET OFFICE JOBS-SWT
THE COST-CUTTING removal of staff from railway stations by profit-hungry privateers is undermining safety for passengers and rail workers and must be reversed, the industry’s biggest union says today. Launching its Safer Journey campaign at its annual general meeting in Nottingham, RMT points out that just 10p in every £1 from the £300 million made each year by private train operators would fund the return of 1,000 staff to Britain’s unstaffed or understaffed stations. The union is calling for a ban on any further de-staffing while a comprehensive review of station staffing levels is undertaken, with a view to ensuring that every station is staffed by at least two people throughout traffic hours. Delegates in Nottingham also demanded that transport employers take seriously their duty of care towards staff – including ending lone working, ensuring that station staff are directly employed and properly trained and offering proper support to those who are assaulted at work rather than treating them as part of the problem. “It is astonishing, but the ministers responsible for setting rail franchises and handing over £2 billion in subsidy have no idea how many stations have been left unstaffed or understaffed since the industry was privatised,” RMT general secretary Bob Crow said today (see notes). “What we do know is that safety fears are one of the key factors putting people off using trains, particularly women traveling alone at night, and that far too many of our members are assaulted when they are left to work alone. “We also know that just ten per cent of the £300 million of taxpayers’ and fare-payers’ money that the operators leech from the industry in profits would pay the wages of 1,000 extra station staff. “As things stand the government is handing over public money to private franchisees and telling them that it is OK to put their profits before our members’ and the public’s safety. “The people who work and travel on the railways want to see more staff on stations, not fewer, and a ban on any further de-staffing is now urgent as a first step towards ensuring that all stations are adequately staffed," Bob Crow said ends Notes to editors: In 2007, on the back of £2 billion in government subsidy, the combined profits of the train operating companies were approximately £300 million (taken from the annual reports and accounts of the six biggest operators of rail passengers services: Arriva; First Group; Go-Ahead; National Express; Stagecoach, and Virgin) The overall cost of employing a full time station staff employee is £31,111, inclusive of employer costs (The former Strategic Rail Authority’s document “Railways for All – March 2005 (2) calculated that it would cost £1.4m to provide five staff per station over a period of nine years (2006/07 to 2014/15). £1.4m divided by nine = £155,555. Then divide £155,555 by 5 = £31,111 each.) Operating passenger services on a not-for-profit basis would allow substantial revenue to be re-invested in improving the railway. Just ten per cent of the train operating companies’ annual profits could pay for an extra 1,000 to be put on stations. As illustrated by the questions below the government does not know how many stations are unstaffed in the evening or outside morning and evening peak periods or at the weekend. Neither does it hold information on how many stations are staffed from the beginning to the end of traffic. John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many stations on the national rail network are unstaffed (a) after 18.00 hours, (b) at the weekend and (c) outside morning and evening peak periods. (208282)Tom Harris: The Department does not hold this information. Staffing levels at railway stations is a matter either for Network Rail at its managed stations or for the relevant train operating company at the franchised stations.June 6, 2008 Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many stations there are on the national rail network; how many stations on the national rail network are wholly unstaffed; and how many stations on the national rail network are staffed from the beginning to the end of traffic. Tom Harris: There are currently 2,515 stations owned by Network Rail, on the national rail network. Information about staffing levels at these stations is a matter either for Network Rail at its managed stations or for the relevant train operating company at the franchised stations.June 9, 2008 The 2005 National Audit Office Report Maintaining and improving Britain’s railway stations that showed only between 38% and 62%, depending on the size of the station, of passengers are satisfied with personal security whilst using train stations. The report further explains that the 2004 National Passenger Survey found that half of the 17% of passengers who had cause to worry about their personal safety on the railway cited a lack of station staff as a reason for their concern. The NAO report also pointed out that research conducted for the Department for Transport in 1996 and 2002 “suggests that improving personal safety would result in 15% more journeys by train (and Underground) much of it outside peak hours.