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General Secretary Mick Cash said:

"The union is picking up reports from both Northern and GTR of a hopeless lack of planning, combined with a shortage of crew and fleet, which has reduced the Monday morning journey to a nightmare for many passengers. It is our members dealing with the anger at the sharp end not the well-paid top brass from Arriva and Govia who are responsible for this Meltdown Monday on our railways.

"Both of these companies have sought to compromise safety and access by hacking back on critical staff and it is no surprise to RMT that they can't be trusted with the massive logistical challenges of bringing in new timetables.

"Frankly I wouldn't trust the private train operators to run a bath let alone our vital rail routes. After Virgin/Stagecoach were kicked off the East Coast last week it's time for the rest of these racketeers to be sent packing as well and for our railways to be run by the public sector as a public service."

Responding to the publication of the Hackitt review into building regulations in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire, the general secretary of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) Matt Wrack said:

“It is perverse that the Hackitt review does not recommend an outright ban on flammable cladding despite claiming that a new regulatory framework would stop the use of these materials. The safest course of action for the public and for firefighters is for these dangerous materials to be taken out of the equation entirely.

“The government has this afternoon announced a consultation on the banning of combustible cladding which means it will take months before action, if any, is taken. A wholesale ban on combustible material is the most-straight forward and efficient way the government could put public safety first; they have instead chosen to kick it into the long grass.”

"Although we welcome Hackitt’s recognition that systemic change is necessary to improve safety, we are deeply concerned that the report seems to prioritise business concerns over public safety. At one point in the report it is recommended that an inspection regime be put in place that will not cause regulators to lose business. The profits of regulators should not be an area of concern when we are talking about a fire that claimed the lives of 72 people. Instead the system of inspection and regulation, including specific regulators, need to be publicly owned and accountable.

The NUJ has consistently supported calls for part two of the Leveson Inquiry to go ahead.

The latest proposal contains welcome changes by excluding local newspapers from its scope, explicitly recognising the importance of free speech, and making it clear that Northern Ireland will be given consideration.

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary said: “Part two of Leveson was always going to be where the inquiry got truly interesting. The role of politicians, the power dynamic between newspaper owners and editors and our elected leaders, and the failure of corporate governance – no wonder then that vested interests have lobbied hard to see off this inquiry.

“Criminal trials meant that part two couldn’t take place straight away – the nature of those trials, the way in which responsibilities were ducked and individual reporters were scapegoated and hung out to dry, means there many questions remain about the way in which newspaper executives and editors conducted themselves and about the culture they created in the workplaces they were responsible for. Journalists have paid the price with their careers, victims have not got the justice they deserve, yet those responsible at the very top of the media companies involved have emerged unscathed.

“This is a chance for parliament to make good on its commitments to an important inquiry that can ensure that unlawful and unethical practices are never allowed to proliferate again.”

Read more: NUJ: JOURNALISTS CALL ON PARLIAMENT TO HONOUR COMMITMENTS ON PRESS INQUIRY

THE FIREFIGHTERS' DILEMMA

TUCG: MARK SERWOTKA ON THE FIGHT AGAINST AUSTERITY

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BOOK: COST OF LIVING CRISIS

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By MIchael Calderbank

Foreword by Mark Serwotka, PCS General Secretary

 

Buy now from www.radicalread.co.uk

Based on research commissioned by the TUCG, the book examines why costs have risen for all items of expenditure, ranging from housing and child care to food and transport. He makes practical proposals on how these costs can be reduced. He also delivers an uncompromising message to the leaders of all mainstream Westminster Parties: it is time to end the politics of austerity, an ideological project to cut the size of the state permanently.