Saturday, January 17, 2009
JOB CUTS AT SWT WILL HIT PUBLIC SERVICES HARD SAYS RMT
Union accuses operator of trying to hoodwink passengers JOB CUTS planned by South West Trains will massively undermine the public service the profiteering company is supposed to provide, Britain’s biggest rail union said as the scale of cuts planned among front-line staff became apparent. RMT today accused SWT of trying to hoodwink the public into believing that services would be unaffected by the planned cuts. “Yesterday’s announcement was bad enough, because the profiteers who run SWT have no business cutting any jobs, but the impression that they are merely trimming back-room excesses couldn’t be further from the truth,” RMT general secretary Bob Crow said today. “Substantial numbers of platform, ticket-office, information, clerical and cleaning staff will go if the company gets its way, and these are the people that deliver the services that SWT passengers pay through the nose for. “Despite record passenger numbers, record profits, year-on-year inflation-busting fare increases and a massive increase in dividends, SWT wants to pare staff to the bone, and they need to be told it’s not on. “Even after being told by the government to scale back plans to axe ticket-office opening times, nearly 100 full-time ticket office jobs are earmarked for the chop, and that is a disgrace. “On top of that they want to run shorter trains, which can only result in spreading overcrowding to off-peak services. “We made it quite clear yesterday that RMT will fight any compulsory redundancies among its members, and we would hope that the passengers SWT has tried to hoodwink will tell the company that it has no right to shed staff simply to keep profits and dividends up. “This big squeeze on passengers and rail workers can only get worse as SWT tries to make its premium payments and keep Stagecoach shareholders happy, and the time has come to end the nightmare and bring the franchise back into the public sector,” Bob Crow said.