Saturday, January 17, 2009

South West Trains: not telling the whole story

In another round of railway industry job cuts, South West Trains have announced the loss of 480 jobs, 10% of their workforce. According to their website,

"Subject to consultation with staff, our plans will involve a reduction of around 480 management, administration and other roles across the company. Train drivers, guards and frontline fleet maintenance staff are not affected by these proposed changes."

Whilst the notion that there are so many people whose jobs can be axed without impacting on services to passengers is, to a cynical mind, unlikely, it appears that I have much to be cynical about. The press release continues;

"Our priority throughout this process has been to protect the core frontline service and excellent performance we currently provide to our customers."

So, you could reasonably expect that the service to passengers will be maintained at its current level, couldn't you?

But no, for the BBC have uncovered the truth. 93 full-time and 87 part-time ticket office jobs are to go, along with 62 full-time and 9 part-time platform jobs. That would be 251 roles, 52% of the total under threat. Passengers will find it harder to buy the cheapest ticket for their journey, will find it harder to get help when they need it and will feel less safe when they travel.

At least the trains will run, won't they? Well, yes and no. The BBC have also discovered that South West Trains are now running nearly 100 shorter trains every day. Once again, weasel words from a rail franchise to disguise a drop in standards...

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