As disabled women passengers who need more staff for access and safety, we support the RMT union defending rail jobs, pay and conditions. Instead of valuing and supporting the vital jobs that rail staff do, the profiteer rail companies plan to close ticket offices, cut jobs and overload the remaining staff with multiple tasks and responsibilities. Fewer staff means tired, rushed and distracted workers under more stress.
Ahead of the rail strike on Saturday 13 May, here is testimony by a striker about their lifesaving work and training. Trigger warning – distressing details.
— “I was walking to go to the toilet on another platform, an unmanned platform. The toilets were on that platform. And as I was walking along, the train came in and the doors opened. I just happened to notice something fell down between the train and the platform, but I didn’t know what it was. When I went over to have a check, to see what it was, it was a child. The parents hadn’t noticed, because they were looking for the child on the platform. And they hadn’t noticed. The platform was too busy, the guard hadn’t seen. If I hadn’t noticed, the guard would have dispatched his train and it would have resulted in that child losing its life.
There was another time, there was a guy, and he was drunk, maybe on drugs, he had stepped off the train. And he missed the step and he had gone down. But obviously, I didn’t know this. I was called down to the train to help someone with first aid. Anyway, we couldn’t find him. And I don’t know why, but something made me get my torch out and look between the train and the platform. And he was laying on the tracks under the train, he’d fallen down there. And again, we managed to get him off, he was taken off to hospital. I think he badly damaged his leg, his foot, because he had gone down.
Another time on an unmanned platform. One of my colleagues was over on that platform to go to the toilet. I feel bad telling her story, but I think she would appreciate it. It was a freight train going through. And a lady got hit by it. My colleague laid on the platform, talking to this lady, while she was trapped under the train, bleeding out. That was another unmanned platform, late at night when nobody else would have necessarily known, if it wasn’t for the fact that my colleague had gone over there to use the toilet — again. [After people are taken to hospital] we never get to find out the aftermath. If that lady didn’t die, she definitely had life-altering injuries.
When you work on platforms, you’re trained to look out for vulnerable passengers. You’re trained to look out for children in pushchairs that haven’t got the lock on. So, when a fast train goes through, it will drag the pushchair. So, there’s certain things that you’re trained to do.
And you’re also trained to look out for passengers in distress. And I’ve managed to stop three people from trying to end their life — just by talking to them, just looking and talking — and if you get rid of us there’s no one there to do that. I don’t know what else to say.”
— Thank you.
Strike info here