RAIL UNION RMT revealed today that rail workers are being told to take German lessons as part of their training course for operating new track equipment.
The news comes as German rail giant Deutsche Bahn looks to tighten its grip in the UK through the acquisition of the Grand Central franchise, opening up an opportunity to use EU rules to start running services on the East and West Coast, and with the continuing row over the proposed award of the Thameslink fleet contract to Siemens at the expense of UK train building at Bombardier in Derby.
Rail staff on a recent course in Kent were told that they had to learn a series of German phrases relating to instructions on track equipment. RMT says that it would be simpler and safer to get the equipment re-programmed with a translation into English rather than placing the responsibility to learn German on the workforce but the union believes it is all about money.
Phrases that form part of the course, and which workers are to be tested on include:
Kdo abgew AZGR ANFORD Grund BETRIEBLICH Reset requested but not carried out due to section being clear
UARTFEHLER receiver / transmitter fault – corrupted data message
VERBINDUNGSAUSFALL Connecting failure
RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said:
“From Siemens involvement in the betrayal of BomBardier through to Deutsche Bahn taking over the UK’s Grand Central franchise last week EU diktat is driving a German corporate takeover of Britain’s railways. Profits that could be invested in our services are instead spirited out of the country without touching the sides. It is extraordinary that the German companies can't even be bothered to translate their safety instructions into English and instead UK rail workers have to take responsibility with these crash courses in O level German”