Fears for safety if station staff cut

SAFETY at Eastbourne Railway Station may be compromised if Southern goes ahead with its proposals to cut station staff, according to an employee and a trade union spokesman.

The Herald understands Southern is proposing to reduce the amount of employees working on the platform and in the station.

A Southern employee, who didn’t want to be named, and Paul Cox from the RMT union said fewer staff could cause safety problems because it will mean a reduction in trains which are dispatched from the station.

Currently, all trains are set off by the driver, the guard on the train and a member of staff on the platform.

Mr Cox said, “A reduction in train dispatch is a reduction in safety.

“It will be a less safe place to travel through because they are removing an additional safety feature.”

Mr Cox also told the Herald he was concerned about a possible increase in assaults on staff because there will be fewer people to tackle problem situations.

The Southern employee said, “It is going to cause problems for the staff left on the station and for the passenger. With no security, there will be no-one to move yobs and drunks away from the station.

“Passengers will have problems with their luggage and wheelchairs.

“Without supervisors the station will fall apart. Eastbourne won Medium Station of the Year but that won’t be happening again if these cuts go ahead.”

A spokesperson from Southern said, “The role of dispatch staff at Eastbourne station has not been reviewed since the days of the old ‘slam door’ trains.

The review is taking place to establish if it is indeed still fit for purpose, thereby ensuring that we maintain a safe and secure environment for our passengers and staff, and continue to provide better customer service.

“Our record in this area is excellent. The level of staff assaults has reduced significantly in recent years and crime levels on our stations and trains are at an all time low.

“We regard the safety and security of our passengers and staff as our highest priority and have a track record of working successfully with our employees and trade unions on this issue. Neither of the above are cost cutting exercises. In fact we are investing more than ever on the safety and security of our passengers and our employees. This investment and the high priority we give this issue have contributed to significant reductions in assaults on staff and crime in general on our network.”