Tuesday, 11 March 2014

RMT leader Bob Crow: final statement - condemns private train operators for dumping raw sewage on Britain's railways tracks, workers and passengers

Rail leader Bob Crow's final statement reviles the 'excremental' state of Britain's privatised rail network. 

Paul Coleman reports

Bob Crow (born 1961, died 2014)  leads rail union members
on anti-cuts march in central London in March 2011.
London Intelligence)

Last words matter

At 9.25am today, a press release from the Rail, Maritime and Transport Union (RMT) lands in my Inbox (Tuesday, 11 March).
In the press release, RMT general secretary Bob Crow issues a statement calling on the government to stop the UK's private rail companies dumping raw human sewage from train toilets onto the tracks.
Track workers face pools of human waste.
Depot staff must scrape human excrement off train undersides.
There is no law requiring train operators and rolling stock leasing companies to retrofit controlled emission toilets to trains.

Last statement
Poignantly, Bob Crow's public statement is also his last. 
The RMT announces Bob Crow has died this same morning in an east London hospital.
Apparently, after suffering a heart attack.

Bob Crow's final statement today describes a literal situation.
But his words can also be taken as a metaphor.
Many passengers and public regard the state of Britain's privatised railways as excremental  - over-inflated fares, overcrowding, compromised maintenance and safety, lax regulation, and a lack of investment as private companies extract profits.

In the statement, Bob Crow says: "It is a shocking indictment on the state of our railways twenty years after privatisation, and with hundreds of millions of pounds a year being creamed off in private profits, that unknown amounts of raw sewage are being dumped and sprayed across the tracks up and down the UK, creating a disgusting public health risk  for staff and the public alike."

Pay the price
Crow concludes: "Not only is this a filthy way of disposing of human waste, but it also poses real health risks and dangers for RMT members out there working on the tracks and in the depots.
 "There is no point the government politely requesting that the private train companies desist. 
  "This rotten practice should be stopped once and for all and the train companies should be forced by the government to pay the price for upgrading the trains and employing staff to empty the tanks."

Rail companies and the Department for Transport were not available for comment.

© Paul Coleman, London Intelligence, March 2014.

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