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ITF offers support to French train driver and tell governments to 'keep the guard'

18 Oct 2019
The Executive Board of the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), meeting in Montreal on 17-18 October today offered its full support to the French driver following the accident that occurred on October 16 between Mohon and Poix-Terron.

The ITF reaffirms that the system of driver only operation - placing all safety responsibility on the driver - is a less secure method of railway operation.

We categorically condemn the governments that supported the decision, or even instructed rail operators to adopt this system.
 
We consider that not only does the guaranteed presence of a control officer/conductor on all trains preserve safety, security and service delivery, but it is also essential for on-board access for disabled people and the elderly.

The adoption of Driver Only Operation is part of a process of dehumanising railways, which also includes the de-staffing of stations and the closing of the ticket offices.

This situation contributes to a serious deterioration of security in stations and on trains.

Forces in collisions and derailments can cause malfunctions in safety devices and even failures of radio alert systems. Several recent accidents have reinforced feelings of insecurity and fears over the safety of both workers’ and passengers.

Drivers often find themselves alone and isolated, having to deal with a multitude of regulatory procedures and manage the passengers, most of the time in a state of shock.

In the absence of a guard on board the train, drivers are faced with conflicting responsibilities: they are required to leave the train and protect the area from further catastrophe whilst abandoning the passengers, unable to assist and protect them, leaving them alone, scared or injured.

The ITF demands the presence of staff on trains, including a railway safety officer, allowing drivers to focus on their responsibilities.

The ITF is committed to supporting affiliate campaigns globally against Driver Only Operation to ensure employment and safety in rail and to secure workers’ rights in the future of work.

Solidarity
 

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