Commuters accuse govt of 'covering up' failure in Southern Rail crisis

Submitted by sglenister on Fri, 16/06/2017 - 16:16

16 June 2017

The Association of British Commuters (ABC), which has been campaigning for better conditions for travellers in London and an end to the Southern Rail dispute, has accused ministers of covering up a damning report into the crisis.

On their website, the group said: "The 'Gibb report' has now been under lock and key at the Department for Transport [DfT] for nearly six months, denying the public their right to a solution – and their right to answers – after suffering through this unprecedented rail crisis."

A spokesman added: "We are convinced that the Gibb report is extremely critical of the DfT’s role in a rail crisis that has always been about far more than just the strikes," a spokesman for the group said.

He added that he could think of "no other explanation for withholding such a vital report for almost six months".

The ABC's website reveals that a Freedom of Information request they made to the government resulted in a promise that the Gibb report will be published in full by the end of June.

But the group criticised the government for taking an anti-trade union stance before the facts have even come out, saying:"For Theresa May’s government to be talking about bringing in further restrictions to the right to strike when they have not even appraised the causes of this unprecedented crisis is at best premature, and at worst, ideologically motivated."

Chris Grayling's re-appointment to the Cabinet at Secretary of State for Transport has also shocked commuters. The ABC said: "Grayling is widely blamed for his refusal to solve the Southern Rail crisis, despite the company being in special measures for nearly two years.

"It is exactly six months since hundreds of commuters marched to the doors of the Department for Transport, demanding that Grayling either intervene in the Southern Rail management contract, or resign. He did neither: instead he chose to lay insult upon injury to southern passengers by withholding an essential report into the causes of the Southern Rail crisis."

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “It is scandalous that the Gibb report remains under lock and key in a vault at the Department for Transport.

"RMT is demanding its immediate publication as the stench of the Southern Rail fiasco hangs like a cloud over this rotten government and reminds passengers that the alternative option of public ownership is now right up the agenda."

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