RMT general secretary Bob Crow said. “Not only have cuts to staffing and infrastructure investment left us ill prepared to cope with this severe weather but we also have reports this morning of bus companies sending vehicles and drivers out onto roads that are clearly downright dangerous, and strewn with trees and debris, without a thought for staff or passenger safety. RMT is taking that appalling situation up with the companies involved.
Since the last big storm in 1987 the rail network has axed over 2000 engineering staff and has hacked back investment in drainage, embankments and tree clearance. That policy is coming back to haunt them and will leave hundreds of thousands of passengers who pay a fortune in fares unable to get to work in the morning. That is a shocking reflection on the state of our railways.
RMT pays tribute to those rail, maritime and transport workers who have been out there overnight in horrific conditions battling to keep services running with inadequate capacity and resources. Those workers are heroes today but face the continuing threat to their jobs tomorrow. That is disgraceful.
The past 24 hours have shown that there are not enough staff to clear tracks and keep trains running as numbers have been hacked to the bone. We barely have enough crew to cope with routine engineering works let alone emergencies as the shutdown of services across the south and up into the Midlands has confirmed.
RMT demands an end to the plans to axe hundreds more track staff and calls for an increase in both crew numbers and investment in infrastructure to avoid the kind of unprecedented panic measures we have seen over night . “