Around an hour ago, 7ish, Clive Bull was discussing the London tube strike which had just started. John Leach, the RMT’s lead officer on the action, spoke to Bull; and put across a very convincing argument. Leach reasoned that his members were striking on an issue of safety. Laying out a very coherent case for the action.
He mentioned how vision impaired people depended on staff, disabled people generally benefited from staffed stations; he went on to mention the health and safety dangers inherent in unstaffed stations. Especially since the larger tube stations were also losing staff members who monitor these multi-platforms venues. He contended that where overcrowded platforms occur not having staff present was a real health and safety issue.
Clive Bull did voice his concern about the de-staffing of the system. He agreed, up to a point, that safety on our tube system was important. But, he was dubious on a strike being the appropriate action.
As access to public transport is something I’ve campaigned around for several years I decided to chance phoning the radio station. To my surprise I got through.
The two points I made were that closing ticket offices and placing staff members somewhere on station platforms disadvantaged vision impaired tube users who are used to arriving at the station ticket office, a fixed point. Similarly, I continued, other disabled travellers who needed assistance would find their journey made more difficult. If ticket barriers did not work. Wheelchair users waiting for gates to be opened. When lifts broke down.
My second point was the health and safety aspect. I maintained that the London Underground had employed station staff for over a century. Stating that the numbers of tube travellers has increased; and that appropriate safety levels were as vital today as ever.
On 7th July 2005 bombs were exploded in several tube stations and on London buses. While ordinary Londoners showed great courage on that day assisting and comforting wounded and dying people, tube and bus workers were also cited for their actions on the day.