RMT demands full investigation into Canning Town overcrowding incident

RMT demands a “full and transparent formal investigation” into recent Canning Town overcrowding incident and calls for all London Underground station control rooms to be fully staffed.

TUBE UNION RMT said today that there “must be no cover up” over an incident last week where a passenger fell between the train and the platform at Canning Town – exposing the growing problem of overcrowding and its impact on the Platform/Train interface and making a nonsense of LU’s move to de-staff station control rooms. The union has demanded a “full and transparent formal investigation” and has listed the concerns raised as one of a growing number of safety-critical issues that must be addressed by the new London Mayor and his transport officials.

In the incident last Thursday, Canning Town Jubilee Line and DLR platforms ended up dangerously overcrowded after the passenger fell under the train as growing numbers of people ended up being shunted from one part of the station to the other. Those at the sharp end ended up having no idea of passenger numbers and the scale of the over-crowding problems owing to the fact that the state of the art control room - with communications , CCTV and emergency monitoring equipment - has been left permanently unstaffed due to the cuts to station numbers that RMT has been fighting .

The incident , which has appalled members of the public and which has made it on to YouTube, is one of several safety-critical incidents that have occurred since London Underground decided to effectively close many of their hi-tec station and expensively-equipped control rooms because of staffing cuts . Major and busy stations including Canning Town , West Ham and Fulham Broadway are all victims of these cuts. RMT has warned that the Canning Town incident will not be the last and points to the latest RAIB annual report which warns that life-threatening incidents at the Platform/train Interface are on the rise. 

RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:

“The appalling incident at Canning Town last week should be a wake-up call to London Underground that it’s staff cuts programme is compromising safety and, against the background of over-crowding on a daily basis, highlights the daily risks that are confronting both passengers and staff alike.

“There must be no cover up of this incident and RMT demands a full and transparent formal investigation to establish the facts. With the industry safety watchdog, the RAIB, warning only this week of the growing dangers at the Passenger/Train Interface it is patently obvious that cutting staff against that backdrop represents a lethal gamble with rail safety.

“Despite London Underground having fully functional hi-tec control rooms, with state of the art equipment that warns in advance of an incident and controls communications, they have decided to close these in many places because of the cuts programme bulldozed through by the last Mayor. RMT reps have been warning the company for weeks now of the lethal consequences of those cuts and those warnings are now coming home to roost .

“RMT intends to raise this appalling situation as part of a wider agenda of safety-critical issues with the new Mayor and the union repeats its call for a halt to the disastrous London Underground job cuts programme.”

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