Hit or Miss? RMT uses King's Cross fire anniversary to flag up staffing issues

The RMT union chose to mark the 25th anniversary of the King's Cross fire, which killed 31 people, with a staged a demonstration.

The disaster led to tougher safety measures including a ban on smoking on the Underground. The union handed out placards that proclaimed 'King's Cross Fire - Never Again'. Speakers at the event included RMT leader Bob Crow, who discussed staff cuts and driverless trains.


James Bethell, Director, Westbourne Communications

The RMT's stunts celebrate the role of hard-working transport staff with chutzpah, and the union can argue that the safety lessons of disasters such as King's Cross need to be remembered, however sad the memories. But, strategically, this is a foot-shooting exercise.

The RMT's comms are in a rut. It is perceived to be using foul tactics to fight traveller-friendly reforms in the interests of a generously treated clique. This stunt reinforces that impression by conflating a tragedy with driverless trains and station-manning levels.

The coverage may reassure RMT members that they're getting value for money, but instead of unsubtle, shroud-waving anniversaries, the union should try to overcome the impression that its interests are at odds with those of hard-pressed travellers.


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