DISABILITY rights campaigners will today join Southern train workers on the picket line as part of a nationwide week of protests against cuts which affect disabled people.
Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) group has condemned Southern Rail’s plans to remove safety-critical guards from trains which they argues would make it even more difficult for people with disabilities to board the trains — a situation that would be breaching the Equality Act 2010.
“Just a fraction of the £100 million the GTR [Southern’s owner Govia-Thameslink Railway] parent company is hoarding in profits would be enough to keep a guard on the Southern trains, keep the trains safe and accessible and resolve the dispute,” said rail union RMT’s general secretary Mick Cash.
RMT has taken industrial action against Southern Rail over the issue for several weeks.
The latest is a 48-hour strike starting today.
“RMT remains available for serious talks but GTR clearly have no interest in resolving the dispute and it is also clear that the government are propping them up financially and politically,” added Mr Cash.
DPAC is carrying out a “#RightsNotGames Week of Action” in parallel to the start of the Paralympic Games in Rio commencing today, to draw attention to the cumulative effects of the cuts on disabled people.
As part of the DPAC nationwide day of action yesterday, a group of protestors staged a demonstration outside the jobcentre in Salford.
One of the protesters, David Boyce, told the Star how welfare sanctions had meant that his benefits were stopped.
Because he could not afford to eat properly his diabetes caused ulcerations to his leg, which he had to have amputated. His benefits were restored on appeal.