Women say no to rail de-staffing

The Womens Institute has joined forces with Action for Rail to make clear the concerns that thousands of women have about the government’s plans to encourage train operators to cut staff from stations, trains and ticket offices.

The Times and The Telegraph both reported yesterday that Ruth Bond of the WI and Frances O’Grady of the TUC and Action for Rail have co-signed a letter to the Secretary of State Justine Greening, calling for a halt to government plans to de-staff our railways and, specifically, to put an end to London Midland’s mass ticket office closures.

According to the Times report, their letter states that:

Surveys clearly indicate that passengers want staff at stations and on trains. This is particularly the case for women who, with good reason, view deserted stations and unstaffed trains as threats

Ruth Bond, Chair of the National Federation of Women’s Institutes told The Times:

With over 210,000 members and as long-standing members of the End Violence Against Women Coalition, women’s safety is hugely important to us and we are deeply concerned about the proposals to reduce the number of railway staff. We are urging the Government and train companies to ensure cost cutting doesn’t compromise safety.

Frances O’Grady, Deputy General Secretary of the TUC (and Chair of Action for Rail) added:

The Government’s plans to cut costs on our railway by letting train operators close ticket offices and reduce staff on trains and stations leave women at risk of violence and sexual harassment.If the Secretary of State cares about the needs of women passengers she will put a stop to plans now.

Justine Greening has said that she is keen to champion the interests of women passengers so it will be interesting to see which way she goes with this.

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