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Commuters urged to join rail union protest

Rail union leaders today called on commuters to join their campaign against plans to cut ticket office opening hours.

Members of the Rail Maritime and Transport union met passengers at London's King's Cross station and urged them to object to the proposals by First Capital Connect.

The union warned that ticket office opening would be slashed by 800 hours a week if the proposals went ahead.

General secretary Bob Crow said: "This is an attack on passenger service and safety and an attack on our members' jobs at the worst possible time.

"Like all the other private rail operators, FCC have just imposed massive inflation-busting fares hikes despite raking in huge profits, and hot on its heels comes another blow to passengers and rail workers alike.

"But these cuts can be beaten, and the rail watchdogs have the power to ask the Government to block them, so the more passengers who object the clearer it becomes that people want to see more staff on stations, not fewer."

Val Shawcross, chairman of the Greater London Authority's transport committee, said: "I know that station safety is a key concern. Passengers feel reassured knowing that a real human being is on site in the event of any incident.

"This move will affect some stations in my own constituency and I very much hope that FCC will see sense and put passenger security above saving money."