We’ve yet another strike on Northern Rail over the issue of driver only operated trains. The question being, well, is this just unions sticking their oar in to save the jobs of their members or is it really something to do with the safety of passengers as is claimed? Lynsey Hanley gets rolled out at The Guardian to make the safety case:
Without guards, train passengers like me would be unsafe. I back their strike
This is not true. “Unsafe” is an absolute, the correct phrase here is, possibly at least, less safe. There is nothing in this universe of the occasional falling asteroid which is safe. Things can only be more or less so. We thus need an idea of how many resources we’re going to use to make something how safe? Which we do have on the railways, we think that if it costs £2 million or less - we’ll not trouble to look up that specific number - to save a life then make it that safe, more and don’t. Sure, we can argue about the number but not the concept for to abandon the idea would mean that we’ve not got trains at all. No one at all being able to travel anywhere is not worth saving only the one life, is it?
As it happens not having guards isn’t less safe:
In 2017, George Bearfield, the RSSB’s director of system safety, stated that there was no discernible risk on DOO trains.
“Our conclusions from the latest analysis are that there is no discernible difference in the risk associated with driver-only dispatch vs driver and guard dispatch.
“There is no such thing as absolute safety, you cannot remove all risk. We take a rational, evidence-based view, to ensure progress in safety.”
Which is why guardless trains are operated by Abelio, Great Western, Chiltern, Govia and a number of other rail lines and franchises. With no obvious or known diminution in the safety of passengers.
Which leaves us with just this:
Dispensing of train guards could result in thousands of jobs being axed around the country, however.
Our aim and intention is always to destroy jobs, to be able to achieve our goal with the use of less human labour. For that’s how we free up labour to produce other things for us all to enjoy.
Yes, this is union featherbedding and no more.