Polegate MP, Maria Caulfield, is calling on the rail unions to ‘give people their lives back’.
Her stance follows a letter from the Transport Secretary Chris Grayling, in which he lays out how a report by the lead executive director of the Independent Rail Regulator, Ian Prosser, has concluded that Driver Only Operated (DOO) trains present no significant safety issues. The leading figure in the rail industry then went further to say that his findings confirm that there is no basis for industrial action based on safety concerns. However, the unions dispute the findings of the report, calling it a ‘whitewash’ and Eastbourne Chamber of Commerce also remains to be convinced that DOO is a safe option.
Six days of strike action – including three next week – are planned by drivers with ASLEF later this month, with Southern warning they won’t run any services during the industrial action.
Commenting, the Polegate MP and regular commuter Maria Caulfield said, “I have spoken to all parties in a bid to bring this dispute to a close, however, the key argument that has been made again and again by the unions has been based on safety. This independent report clearly states that DOO is safe, and therefore one has to ask why the strikes will continue to go ahead, causing yet more misery for rail users, and their families, across my constituency of Lewes.”
“The Transport Secretary has made it clear in his letter that he is well aware of the long running poor performance on the Southern Network, and will be tackling the franchise once current dispute needs are closed.”
“I therefore, ask again that the unions call off the strikes and give people their lives back.”