RAIL UNION RMT has today written to Transport Secretary Phillip Hammond, the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) and the Health and Safety Executive demanding assurances that urgent action is being taken on rail safety following notice from the Judge at the Potters Bar Inquest that there is a continuing risk of fatalities eight years on from the disaster.
RMT is warning that it will not tolerate any delaying tactics following the stark warnings from the Potters Bar judge and that the union will consider a ballot for action of all railway workers, including all Network Rail, contractors and Train Operating Company staff, if the assurances on current safety are not forthcoming.
Coroner Judge Michael Findlay Baker QC warned on Friday that there was a continuing potential risk to rail passengers.
He said he would file a report under Rule 43 of the 1984 Coroners Rules which allows coroners to express concern that circumstances continue to create a risk of other deaths.
RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said:
“It was RMT that called on the Judge to serve notice on Network Rail and the safety authorities under Rule 43 and his warnings on current threat to life could not have been clearer. We now want urgent assurances from the Government and the authorities that the death trap situation on Britain’s railways is being addressed and that working and travelling conditions are safe.
“If we don’t get those assurances we will consider a ballot for action involving all rail staff.
“The Judge’s reference to a continuing risk of fatalities makes a nonsense of Network Rail’s claims that they have learnt the lessons of Potters Bar and have got their house in order. They are still cutting maintenance jobs and cancelling renewals programmes that RMT believe compromise safety and make another tragedy inevitable. The Government should instruct Network Rail to halt their safety-critical job cuts plans right now and they should be told to reinstate their shelved renewals programme as a matter of urgency.”