The two main rail unions have responded to the Gibb report which was published by the Department for Transport (DfT) this morning (Thursday 22 June).
The RMT guards’ union described the report as a government “fit up”.
RMT general secretary Mick Cash said. “No wonder the government have sat on the Gibb report for seven months.
“It’s taken them that long to slice and fillet it into a document that they can spin up as an attack on the unions and the staff.
“Nobody who uses Southern Rail day in and day out will be fooled by this fit up by Chris Grayling and the minority Tory government.
“This is a classic case of he who pays the piper calls the tune. It’s a shame Mr Gibb never bothered to talk to the unions and the staff and has allowed himself to be used by the government as a human shield over the Southern Rail fiasco.
“What the Government don’t want the public to know is that, despite their spin, Gibb also says
- That despite ministers saying the dispute is a matter for GTR, Gibb says Chris Grayling has been determining the ‘strategic direction of the dispute’
- That Gibb considered nationalisation but said this should be ruled out as it could affect the roll-out of driver only trains and increase the power of the unions
- That some routes should be transferred to TFL (Transport for London)
“Let me make this clear. The fight for safety and access to services on Southern Rail goes on.
“Chris Grayling can cut and paste Gibb however he likes to try and prop up the basket-case GTR operation but the passengers forking out thousands of pounds a year for Britain’s worst rail service won’t buy it.
“GTR should be stripped of the franchise with the whole lot taken into public ownership.”
Mick Whelan, general secretary of ASLEF, the train drivers’ union, said: “I note Chris Gibb states that no single party is responsible for the Southern Rail’s performance.
“He’s right. It’s a combination of the Department for Transport and GTR/Southern deliberately provoking an industrial dispute.
“The Southern Rail network is a microcosm of the entire rail industry. I agree with Chris’s analysis that a lack of system integrity alongside a lack of leadership and strategy have contributed to the performance failures.
“The government has been sitting on the Gibb report for six months. Why were they so afraid to publish it?”