Rail union RMT held a national protest against Driver Only Operation outside Parliament on 25 April with union banners on display from many towns and regions across the country. In good humour, everyone joined loudly in the chant of “No, no, no to D – O – O!”.
The rally coincided with the 2nd anniversary of the start of RMT strike action on Southern – Britain’s longest running industrial dispute – in defence of keeping the guard on the train.
Since the initial dispute began on Southern, RMT members on Northern, Merseyrail, Greater Anglia and South Western Railways have walked out in opposition to the assault on jobs, safety, security and accessibility.
The loss of the guard would mean no guarantee of a member of staff to ensure passenger safety and act in emergencies such as derailments, evacuation, fires and driver incapacity.
The “Guard Guarantee” also means there is always a member of staff to give advice and assistance and to help disabled passengers to get on and off at unstaffed stations.
After the protest a meeting was held in parliament with a number of guest speakers.
“A credit to the trade union movement and the communities they are standing up for.”
RMT General Secretary, Mick Cash said: “The sheer grit and determination of our members on Southern, Northern, Merseyrail, Greater Anglia and South Western Railways to put public safety before private profit over the past two years is a credit to the trade union movement and the communities they are standing up for…RMT has successfully secured agreements in both Wales and Scotland that lock-in the guard guarantee and if it’s good enough for Wales and Scotland to put safety and the role of the guard centre stage, then it should be good enough for the rest of Britain as well.”