Scotrail Conductors at Dumfries and stations across Scotland are taking strike action for a third day on Saturday 25th June 2016 in opposition to plans by the Dutch state operator of Scotrail, Abellio to introduce more Driver Operated Trains.

Abellio Scotrail want to de-skill and downgrade the Guards job as a precursor to getting rid of it altogether – the only motivation to get rid of this safety critical role is to extract bigger profits from the service.

Guards are specifically trained to comply with the railway rule book which equips them to deal with numerous safety and key operational functions on our railway.

In the case of emergencies or difficulties it is the Guard who has to step into make sure the public are safe, Guards skills and knowledge include an understanding of the risks associated with working on electrified lines, track safety, dealing with a train accident of evacuation, failed trains, managing incidents, single line working, signalling systems and signalling regulations, station duties and train despatch, speeds, track possessions, train defects, on train equipment, dealing with fires, dealing with suspect packages, route indications – these are only a few samples of the 35 areas of safety responsible duties they are expected to be able to perform.

When there is an emergency it is the Guard who can take charge, especially if the train driver is incapacitated.

Of course, it is not just about safety there are also those jobs that help provide a better journey for train passengers as well as checking tickets Guards can help passengers get the best value ticket and give them travel information and expert advice about their journey. Guards also help passengers with disabilities and the elderly when required and provide a sense of security and reassurance to passengers.

That is why every two years Guards have to sit periodic exams to ensure that they have retained this important skills and knowledge and remain competent to carry them out.

Abellio Scotrail say because the Driver has these skills that’s enough but what if the driver is injured in an incident and cannot help?

It is only the Guard who is trained to step in and assist – even if the Driver isn’t injured, the guard currently performs crucial roles that keep passengers safe and reassured. You would want to know someone with these skills is always available on a train if your family or friends were travelling when an incident occurred.

Abellio Scotrail suggest that there will always be “someone” on the train as well as the Driver.

However, we know from experience, where Driver Only Operation has already occurred that there are many instances where trains go with no other member of staff on board.

This is NOT just about opening and closing train doors it is about passenger safety.

There have also been numerous safety incidents on Driver Only Trains. Also, polls show that the Scottish public believe they are safer with a fully safety trained Guard on board who understands how the railway operates.

We appreciate the thousands of passengers who have already shown their opposition to Scotrail’s plans to deskill and scrap the Guards’ jobs – as well as our industrial action we’re also activating a widespread public campaign around these issues.


Latest Articles