By Marcus Leach
Tube Union RMT today cast a public safety warning over London Underground’s Olympic strategy for staffing stations as it emerged they plan to use “Non Licensed Volunteers” to work throughout stations doing “way finding”- a coded term for crowd control - a skill and task that should only be carried out by experienced competent members of staff.
The main reason behind London Underground’s plan to use volunteers is their admission to the unions that they need an extra 400-600 Olympic duties per day to able to cope with the demand.
This admission totally demolishes the company’s case for dumping station staff posts and solidly proves RMT’s point that the 650 operational jobs shed by the company this year was a short sighted and dangerous move that has now left them desperately short of personnel.
“Using unqualified, non-professional, non-trained staff at key crowd control pressure points is a recipe for disaster with potentially lethal consequences," RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said today.
"With the tube already at bursting point, and with millions more expected for the Olympics, the last thing needed is wholly unprepared volunteers controlling hundreds of thousands of passengers through stations like Oxford Circus or Stratford.
"RMT senior stations reps have already made it crystal clear to LUL management that we will not accept this dangerous suggestion and we now call on LUL to reverse the 650 jobs cuts and to get back to the safe and sensible policy of having trained operational railway workers carrying out safety-critical operational railway tasks.”
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