Train company wants slaves for its galleys

29 August 2018

Mick Whelan, general secretary of ASLEF, the train drivers’ union, has slammed a privatised train company for asking for unpaid volunteers to provide the services for passengers which it is unwilling to provide itself.


‘It’s outrageous that Grand Central expects unpaid volunteers to turn up to work and look after passengers at stations which are unmanned because the company wants to boost its profits by not employing – and properly paying – people to do a job.’


Sean English, chief operating officer of Grand Central Rail, cheekily tweeted: ‘GC station ambassadors are a team of dedicated volunteers supporting customers/visitors on stations across our routes at weekends. We are looking to introduce a team at Wakefield Kirkgate station. If you know of anyone that it is interested in volunteering please DM me. Thanks!’


Mick added: ‘There are important safety and security issues here. It is important, for the safety of passengers and staff, such as train drivers, that stations are manned. And we know that infrastructure can be a target for terrorists.


‘It is utterly wrong that Grand Central, in pursuit of bigger profits, and bigger dividends for its German shareholders, won’t pay for staff at stations like Wakefield Kirkgate. And it is utterly wrong that Mr English is touting for ‘ambassadors’ to do a job which should be done by properly trained, and properly paid, staff.


‘Ambassadors? That’s a line they used during the London Olympics. Mr English wants unpaid slaves to man his galley.’


Grand Central is an open access operator (owned by Arriva UK Trains, which in turn is owned by Deutsche Bahn) which runs services on the East Coast main line from Sunderland and Bradford to King’s Cross.




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