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ITF calls on South Korean government to release railway workers

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November 2013 – The ITF last week wrote to the South Korean government to call for the release of three railway workers who have been detained pending trial following a rail collision in Daegu, South Korea, in August this year.

According to the Korea Railway Workers’ Union (KRWU), additional safety measures were introduced following a similar accident in the same location on the opposite line in 2008 – but only to that line. Four people received light injuries when a conventional train collided with a high-speed train in the 2013 accident. Carriages and a locomotive were slightly damaged, as was the track switch, and there were slight delays to the service while repair work was undertaken. A government agency is currently investigating the accident.

In the letter, ITF acting general secretary Steve Cotton outlined his concern at the apparent heavy-handed treatment of the railway workers, expressing his, “deep concern that emphasis is being placed on the errors made by the train driver and crew rather than on discovering the root causes of the accident and taking steps to ensure that a similar accident will not occur again”.

ITF inland transport section secretary Mac Urata said: “Even if the workers involved in the accident made mistakes, I echo the sentiments of the KRWU in saying that one human error shouldn’t automatically lead to a crash. The truth is that safety measures were simply not in place on the track – and this could have averted this accident entirely.”

The ITF railway workers section is inviting its affiliates to provide information on existing ‘no blame policies’. Please email inlandtransport@itf.org.uk with your example, or to request a copy of the circular

Watch a video on the crash at http://bit.ly/185xUoE (Korean)

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