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From: The Socialist issue 935, 8 February 2017: Stand with the RMT: Unite against Southern Rail and the Tories

Search site for keywords: RMT - TUC - Profit - Unions - Travel - Aslef - Drivers - The Socialist

Southern dispute: disappointment and anger - RMT president responds

RMT president Sean Hoyle speaking at the 2017 TUSC conference, 28.1.17, photo by Paul Mattsson

RMT president Sean Hoyle speaking at the 2017 TUSC conference, 28.1.17, photo by Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

RMT president Sean Hoyle speaks to the Socialist (in a personal capacity)

Personally I'm disappointed. The deal directly affects our members and in the same position we wouldn't do it. Aslef members are voting on this deal now so the opportunity is in their hands.

The TUC has been complicit in all this. The TUC started talks which we were barred from. But the TUC is supposed to be a body that speaks for all unions. We're a component of the TUC, RMT general secretary Mick Cash sits on the general council and yet the first we heard about the talks was in the media, which is a disgrace.

We must remember this is about safety, it's been about safety from day one. It's not just about safety for the guard or conductor and members of the public. It's also about safety for the driver. When the guard isn't there anymore there will only be the driver. Although Southern says there will be someone else on the train, they won't be safety-critical and there will be many occasions when they won't be there. So the driver will be wholly culpable. The RMT represents drivers too and they have thoroughly rejected going down that path.

From day one this has always been about the safety of the travelling public. Our members are not losing money, they're not losing their jobs. We are concerned about the safety of the travelling public. The changes will be less safe for people. Once we recognise that then it's all about money, and not about money to make fares cheaper, it's purely about money for bigger profits.

Like the public, we want a publicly owned railway, run not for profit, so that people can afford to travel in a greener way. We can renationalise: indeed, other countries' nationalised state railways run most of ours already and their profit is invested into their own railways, not ours.

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