'Don't take rail chaos out on our Lancashire staff'
Rail staff have faced verbal abuse from passengers angry at delays and cancellations to services because of a huge change to timetables, according to their union.
The Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union said frontline staff have been taking the “full force” of frustration caused by disruption to Northern and Govia Thameslink Railway trains.
The move comes as long-suffering rail passengers in Lancashire suffered more disruption on the rail network with further reduced services on Friday because of a workers’ strike.
The RMT union said it had received numerous reports of staff being verbally abused, especially when services have been cancelled.
RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “The vast majority of passengers know that the ongoing timetable problems in the wake of Meltdown Monday are down to the train companies and not the staff, but some lash out from sheer frustration.
“There is no excuse for that whatsoever and the union will not tolerate a situation where our members at the sharp end are effectively being deployed as human shields by a remote and incompetent management.”
Transport for the North and the Department for Transport have agreed a plan with Northern in response to the current performance issues.
Barry White, Chief Executive of Transport for the North, said: “We are extremely disappointed and concerned with the inadequate performance of Northern.
“We have received a timetable recovery plan from Northern to address these concerns and improve the rail experience for passengers.”
Northern blames most of the problems on Network Rail electrification work over-running and a lack of drivers. Its action plan includes improving driver rostering, and putting on extra peak services along the Bolton corridor.