On Thursday, 5th January, the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) issued what at best could be described as a brief official written report regarding the safety of Driver-Only Operation (DOO).
The RMT quickly responded, stating that the report is, in effect, one-sided, flawed and incomplete. Moreover, they hold that the report would appear to indicate that Southern rail is not fully ready for DOO even though they have been approved to do so.
Needless to say, the report, however accurate, has not moved the union’s position, and it is no wonder when the best that is put forward is the brief five pages issued last Thursday; indeed, it is wholly inadequate to get this matter settled.
It must be obvious that a proper, considered and completely independent review that would be unquestionable by either side is the only solution.
I would suggest that the Government could put forward that a fully independent inquiry commission be convened with a mandate to get representation from both sides and with a remit wide enough to examine fully DOO.
Until the commission reports, any roll out of DOO be suspended thus eliminating the basis of the RMT and ASLEF strikes, but once the commission does report, the findings will be taken as the final say – either stopping DOO or the reason for future strikes.
What commuters require and deserve is more decisive action than we have seen so far as the strikes – and the inadequate staffing levels on non-strike days – is having a deleterious effect on the lives of hundreds of thousands of commuters. I only hope we will see a more forceful response than we have seen to date.
Elgar Way, Horsham
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