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TUC Women's Conference Staffing levels on railways are vital to protect women passengers, delegates hear

STAFFING levels on railways are vital to protect women passengers, speakers told the TUC Women’s Conference in London today.

Delegates heard that railways in Britain have become profit-driven under the Tory government, with bosses planning to close most ticket offices and extend driver-only operation (DOO) across the network.

Rail union members warned that this would make public transport less safe, secure and accessible for women and girls as well as those with disabilities.

Ann Joss of RMT, bringing forward a motion for the TUC to campaign for properly staffed transport networks, called the new plans by rail bosses a “disgrace.”

“This government is not doing enough about it,” she said. “Unstaffed stations is their goal.

“We need to keep drivers on the train [and] keep those trains safe for women.”

Ms Joss said she is proud of her colleagues who have taken industrial action, voting in large numbers to strike even after the second ballot required by Tory laws.

She said: “Anti-trade union laws are a pain in our life and will not do women in this room any favours. Let’s kick DOO in the long grass.”

Train driver Kerry Cassidy of Aslef union said that the strikes “haven’t just been about pay, we are also fighting for jobs, for services, for safety.

“Under this government, the railways have become profit-driven, putting shareholders and dividends before the safety of staff and the public,” she told the conference.

“The railways play an important role in social mobility, providing transport for those who cannot drive or afford taxis, helping low paid workers get to work.

“It is important that we continue to fight to save jobs to keep the railway as safe as possible so women feel safe when travelling and aren’t excluded.”


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