Thank you, Madam Chair. Good afternoon, everyone.
My name is Pierre Arseneau, and I am the United Steelworkers area coordinator for our Montreal regional office. We want to thank the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities for giving the United Steelworkers union an opportunity to discuss rail safety.
Among the United Steelworkers members are a dozen companies in Quebec, including Central Maine & Quebec, or CMQ—which used to be called Montreal, Maine & Atlantic, or MMA—the Canadian National, the Canadian Pacific, as well as Quebec North Shore & Labrador.
During our brief presentation before the committee today, we will review most of the elements we already presented to you in January 2014. We will add some new observations and recommendations.
We want to focus on the following aspects: the condition of MMA's railroads, cars and locomotives at the time; operation of trains by a single engineer; identification of merchandise in the cars; teams of first respondents and emergency measures; and the relationship between the Transportation Safety Board and Transport Canada in the maintenance of rail safety.
We were MMA's main union. In our presentation, we will come back to the Lac-Mégantic tragedy several times.
We want to begin by reminding you of the key events of the night between Saturday, July 5, and Sunday, July 6, 2014. At 11 p.m., the MMA train stopped in Nantes. At 11:50 p.m., a fire on board a locomotive was reported. At midnight, the fire was brought under control and the locomotive's engine was shut down by the fire department. Around 1 a.m., the train started hurtling down the hill between Nantes and downtown Lac-Mégantic. Around 1:14 a.m., the train was derailed at a curve in the middle of downtown Lac-Mégantic, killing 47 people.
The first aspect we looked into is the creation of an emergency team qualified to deal with incidents. We at United Steelworkers feel that the Lac-Mégantic accident would not have happened had a small railway company like MMA followed rules that were as strict as those imposed and followed by the country's two largest railway companies—Canadian National and Canadian Pacific.
We believe that, in the case of a major incident or urgent mechanical issues, any railway company, regardless of its size, must at all times have qualified and trained individuals capable of getting to the site within a reasonable time frame. Those individuals must ensure to secure any train before leaving the scene of the incident or mechanical failure. They must also review the procedure followed by all stakeholders before they arrive in order to ensure that their interventions have not given rise to any new problems.
Based on those considerations, United Steelworkers would like to recommend that Canadian railway companies be required, in all circumstances and regardless of their size, to have an emergency team consisting of qualified and trained employees capable of responding to any major incident or urgent mechanical issue within a reasonable time frame.
I will now talk about teams of first respondents and emergency measures.
Increasing amounts of dangerous goods are passing through our cities and towns. Information sharing must be improved to ensure the safety of Canadians. Transparency of information for first respondents is the best guarantee of safety a railway company can give to the communities it is passing through. It is important for mayors, fire departments, police services and paramedics, as well as community health services, to know what dangerous goods, security issues and procedural rules they are dealing with.
In light of these considerations, United Steelworkers would like to make the following recommendation. First respondents must be informed of any dangerous goods passing through their territory and of procedures to follow in the case of fire by all Canadian railway companies regarding all activities in Canada. They must be adequately trained to intervene effectively when railway disasters occur.
An intervention protocol must be established between fire departments, the municipalities involved and the railway companies, which are now required to have an emergency team available at all times. Finally, those companies must publish for the first respondents involved an intervention procedure based on various potential scenarios.
I will now move on to the condition of CMQ's railways, cars and locomotives.
In a number of regions where MMA had rail lines, the media and the public reported several security deficiencies over time, both well before and after the Lac-Mégantic incident.
So we learned that a number of incidents have been reported, including bolts coming out of rails, railway lines often being crooked or poorly aligned, locomotives often catching fire, and buses and other vehicles occasionally having difficulty crossing railways—which themselves cross public roads—owing to poor equipment maintenance.
However, it should be noted that, since the Nantes and Lac-Mégantic incidents, Central Maine & Quebec, realizing how bad the condition of the network it inherited from MMA was, has invested about $21 million in the network's maintenance and modernization. In addition, other aspects have helped improve the situation, such as the prohibition on having only one engineer per train when dangerous goods are involved. Moreover, there seem to be more Transport Canada inspectors to carry out inspections of cars and their dangerous goods.
We have nevertheless kept recommendations 3 and 4, whereby companies wishing to do business in Canada in railway transportation should be subject to more rigorous checks than are currently being done on their background, financial solvency, business solvency and reputation before being granted an operating license.
Here is the fourth recommendation: “Equipment, railway, locomotive and car inspections should be more numerous and rigorous than they currently are.”
Let's now discuss one-person train operation.
The United Steelworkers union feels and has always felt that one-person train operation is very unsafe. In 2012, before the Nantes and Lac-Mégantic incidents, Transport Canada must have been aware of the safety issues involved in that kind of operation.
The Transportation Safety Board of Canada had already covered that issue and issued clear recommendations. In 1996, the TSB published investigation report No. R96Q0050. In 2009, it published investigation report No. R09T0057 on the same issue.
Had the federal government considered the report in 2009 and applied the recommendations issued by the TSB, an operating license for trains with a single engineer on board would not have been issued to MMA, and the Nantes and Lac-Mégantic tragedy would have been avoided.
As we previously wrote, one-person train operation is now prohibited when dangerous goods are on board. That is a step forward applauded by United Steelworkers. However, we are maintaining our recommendation to prohibit that practice in all circumstances. In fact, Canadians are not immune to a potential accident between a train containing dangerous goods and another one being operated by a single engineer.
Based on those considerations, United Steelworkers would like to make the following recommendation: Transport Canada should not allow trains to operate with a single train engineer onboard, in all circumstances, in order to better serve and protect the workers of those companies, as well as Canadians.
Let's move on to the identification of goods in the cars.
The United Steelworkers' members, like various Canadian communities, must know what dangerous goods they are working with. Those in charge of the communities through which trains carrying dangerous goods are passing are not always informed of that or are not informed on time or in an appropriate manner. In some cases, they also don't have the appropriate training to process the information they receive from railway companies to the benefit of their community or their administration.
In light of those considerations, United Steelworkers would like to make the following recommendations: Canadian regulations on the oversight and safety of trains carrying dangerous goods should be tightened; each car carrying dangerous goods should be identified; and information on those goods should be provided to the relevant authorities and the first respondents in the municipalities served or crossed by a railway line.
Let's now talk about the role of the Transportation Safety Board of Canada, or TSB.
According to United Steelworkers, Transport Canada must quickly address the recommendations the TSB issued after the Lac-Mégantic accident. A number of elements from the TSB's report are in line with the recommendations we provided in the wake of the incident. We encourage the Government of Canada and Transport Canada to focus on the safety of Canadians by taking into account the TSB's recommendations.
As for recommendation 8, the union....
Thank you, Madam Chair.
My name is Phil Benson. I'm a lobbyist with Teamsters Canada, and with me today is Don Ashley, national legislative director for the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference, TCRC.
With our maintenance of way division, the Teamsters represent about 65% of rail labour, and almost all of the running trades.
Safety management systems, SMS, are nothing more than corporate best practice. Every company should have one. There was no need to incorporate safety management systems into legislation, other than to deregulate a sector and provide self-governance and self-regulation to corporations. Studies and committee reviews of rail safety in 2009 and 2010 were driven by a Transport Canada study of rail safety management systems.
When they actually inspected rail equipment and track, it was discovered the information provided by companies and the resulting Transport Canada audits were pure fiction. That led to the 2011 amendments to the Rail Safety Act, which changed the SMS provisions. We do not know if the amendments will make any difference; we assume that the companies did not want the changes, as no action was taken to implement the amendments until after the Lac-Mégantic disaster forced the government's hand.
At the end of the last Parliament, Bill further amended the Rail Safety Act, giving the minister the power to order companies to make corrective measures to their SMS and also to remove the requirement that fatigue management must follow science. Given that the minister's corrective powers show the lack of faith the past government had in the SMS regime, can we say that even the Conservatives had doubts about corporate intentions?
The government has allocated $143 million in this budget to enhance rail safety, including strengthening oversight and enforcement. Added to the monies expended by the last government, we're approaching $175 million in taxpayers' money to shore up—from what you've heard from previous witnesses—an existing strong, safe regulatory scheme. If the Rail Safety Act were amended post-Lac-Mégantic, it would not look like the act we have in place today. We recommend you review that act and review it soon.
We were puzzled when Bill removed the requirement that fatigue management must follow science. We were told that it was to overcome problems in drafting regulations, and that it would be and is part of the regulations. First, the 2011 act was passed unanimously by voice vote in the House and the Senate, where all discussion was focused on fatigue.
At the time the act was passed, we were informed that the justice department demanded the definition of science within the act to ensure that regulations could be created to fulfill the wishes of Parliament. In our opinion, companies didn't like the fact that Parliament wanted fatigue dealt with based on science-based evidence. Thank goodness we now have a government that demands it in rule-making.
The Hinton disaster led to what are by today's knowledge weak control over work hours, leaving the rest to collective bargaining. For over six decades, through the application of back-to-work legislation, Parliament violated the constitutional rights of railway workers to collectively bargain to strike.
Collective bargaining will not be normalized, and it will be impossible for hours of work to be adequately dealt with through the bargaining process, unless charter rights are protected. Hours of work are set by regulation in trucking and air and should never be left to collective bargaining in the first place: fix it for rail.
I've given you a little chart that highlights the monthly rest rule violations. These are the collective bargaining violations by one company over a three-year period. I think the current tally is 5,000. Why? When you leave it to a company, collective bargaining in this becomes a cost of doing business and has no place in setting regulations that provide health and safety to workers and safety to the public.
Fatigue science is clear: long hours of work and fatigue lead to disease and cognitive damage. Transport Canada's mandate is to ensure an efficient transportation system, protect public safety, and to make companies money. Labour Canada would not permit the long hours TCR members work because it is a health issue. Transport Canada cannot look at the damage caused to health in dealing with fatigue science because it is not in their mandate. Science-based rule-making demands that the silo approach of departments ends.
We recommend, first, that Labour Canada takes the lead when Transport Canada deals with hours of work and fatigue in rail and all transportation sectors. At a minimum, Labour Canada must be at the table and the health of workers must be part of the science-based rule-making process in Transport Canada. Second, the Rail Safety Act should be amended to give Transport Canada the power to set hours of work, as is the case in other sectors.
The minister does have the power to change those basic rules now. This is more in the reference of safety management systems, which Mr. Ashley will deal with.
Also, we recommend that a joint study be undertaken by Health Canada, Labour Canada, and Transport Canada to assess the health costs of fatigue in the transportation and publicly funded health care sectors and of the social costs to transportation workers, their families, and society.
I've provided a brief in your documents on remote-controlled locomotive operations, which I'll leave with you. I'm just going to talk a little about fatigue, to go on to what Phil said.
Fatigue is a huge problem in our industry for our members. Everybody talks about and looks at time off after work. That's not the big issue. The big issue is that 80% of our members work on call, so it's about knowing when they're going to get called to work. They could have 20 hours off, expecting a call to go to work and not get a call for 12 hours after that. It's hard to balance to be fit and rested to perform your duties when you're called to go to work.
You're working a normal office job. You go to work, you come home, you have your dinner, and you go to bed. You rest in order to go to work in the morning because you know that you're going to work in the morning. Well, you come off a train and are tired and go to bed. You wake up expecting a call to work. That train doesn't show up; it gets set back and it gets set back. Now you're into the next evening when everybody else is expecting to go to bed and you're getting called to go on a train for 12 hours. The issue is scheduling.
We were a little excited when the first draft of the SMS regulations showed up in the Gazette I. It said that the railways would provide a process to schedule employees in these crafts, and it listed the operating crafts. We didn't comment on it, because we thought it was good. Then, somewhere between Gazette I and Gazette II, that changed. When Gazette II came out, it said that when scheduling these employees who work these hours, you will apply the principles of fatigue science. “When scheduling” means the railway has no intention of scheduling these people, so they don't have to apply the regulation. They don't want people they can't just call at their beck and will, which would disrupt operations. They want to be able to run their train whenever they want to run their train, with the minimal amount of management. That's what creates the fatigue issue.
It shouldn't be left to us to correct at collective bargaining. It's a safety issue. Nothing should be on the table at collective bargaining that's a safety issue. Sure, you can try to enhance what's there, but safety issues need to be dealt with in regulation.
I was part of the working group on fatigue, as was Brian, with the advisory council on rail safety. The last time we met was a year ago March. The committee hasn't met since then. We were told by Transport Canada at that time that they were dissolving the working group because it wasn't making any more progress. We were trying to get things done, and the railways were just content to stall the process because they didn't want change. Transport realized it was going nowhere, so they said they were dissolving the working group—
Certainly. Thank you to all the members of the committee for inviting Unifor to discuss our union's perspective on the future of rail safety in Canada as it relates to remote-controlled devices, fatigue management, and safety management systems.
I am Jerry Dias. I'm the national president of Unifor, and with me today is Brian Stevens. He's our national rail director.
We represent close to 85,000 members who work in the federal sector in air, marine, road, telco. And for the purposes of this committee, just over 12,000 of our members work in the rail sector.
The bulk of our rail membership is involved in performing safety and maintenance inspections and repairs of all passenger and freight cars as well as locomotives in the class 1 railways, VIA Rail, and a number of regional carriers.
We also represent 65 locomotive engineers and conductors at CN Savage Alberta Railway, and another 40 at TTR, working in the Lower Mainland and the Port of Vancouver. Additionally, you will find that our members work in yard offices and crew call centres at CN, and in serving the travelling public at VIA Rail. We are clearly stakeholders in the future of rail safety.
Turning to remote control locomotive systems, our locomotive engineer members at both Savage Alberta Railway and at TTR do not at present conduct switching operations with RCLS. However, a large number of our members work in those very same rail yards where RCLS locomotives are operating, and we are concerned about the present and expanding use of this technology.
Our members working in rail yards and sidings rely on the positive protection of lockout, which is a personal lock applied to a switch at both ends of the track our members are working on, or under rail cars or locomotives. This protection has long been entrenched in our rail agreements and is most often referred to as the blue flag rule, which has three components. Number one is a blue flag or light to indicate to the locomotive engineer or conductor that mechanical employees are working around the tracks. Second, the switch is aligned in the opposite direction; and third, a personal lock is applied to prevent unintentional movement onto the track where our members are working.
Today the class 1 railways are in a quest to increase velocity and reduce roll time. The railways are suggesting that our members can simply rely on the administrative measures provided by a rail traffic controller advising the RCLS crew that our mechanical department employees are working on certain tracks.
Without clear lines of sight, the RCLS-operated locomotives present a greater hazard to our members working in between or under rail cars. When a locomotive engineer is at the operating stand, he or she can see that the switch is lined away or that a blue flag is erected between the tracks. The operator of the RCLS is not at all times in the same position as he or she would be when they are at the control stand.
For our members working in rail yards and sidings, blue flag and lockout is positive protection. It is our only protection. Administrative measures are not fail-safe, and the hazards grow significantly with the introduction and expansion of RCLS. SMS risk assessments do not eliminate any hazards; our members remain exposed.
The railway will present to you that they are required to and will conduct risk assessments when their operations change or there is an introduction of technology, such as RCLS.
To be clear, our members are covered by the Canada Labour Code and its OH and S regulations. SMS is, in our view, just another administrative measure that is not designed to protect workers. It is designed to allow corporations to maximize their profits in light of the workplace risks. What is worrisome is the increasing reliance and belief by the industry that risk assessments and risk control processes are reliable and protect workers. In our view, SMS risk assessments are nothing more than a lens that corporations are forced to look through when they are contemplating changes to their operations.
The industry also operates on the premise that SMS risk assessment is an appropriate substitute for occupational health and safety hierarchy of controls, section 19.5 of the regulations. It is not. To be clear, the occupational health and safety approach is much different in that it is anchored on hazard elimination. It is about prevention.
Regarding fatigue management, our members for the most part work on a schedule that falls in line with part III of the Canada Labour Code. That is not to say that our members do not on occasion experience fatigue—for instance, when working on a derailment site or when operational changes have them working multiple shifts. The reality is that for our members working under part III of the Canada Labour Code, the tours of duty are prescribed, and there is both an internal enforcement mechanism—the collective agreement—and an external enforcement mechanism—the labour code—to protect the health and safety of the worker.
For our members working in the cabs of locomotives, much like our sisters and brothers in the Teamsters, Transport Canada is the overseer of fatigue management. As this committee well knows, yet another working group has failed to develop regulations that would protect the health and safety of this group of workers.
Safe railway operations must mean just that, safe. Recognizing hazards and eliminating hazards must be first and foremost, not introducing technology such as RCLS and developing administrative measures as a way to operate with the risks.
We would be happy to take your questions and thank you for your time.
With me today is Michael Teeter, who is my adviser.
The Union of Canadian Transportation Employees is the national union representing most of the inspectors and employees at Transport Canada, the Canadian Coast Guard, the Transportation Safety Board, the Canadian Transportation Agency, and many of Canada's airport authorities.
I am very pleased to be invited back before this committee on the very important subject of rail safety. We should never underestimate the effect of the tragedy of Lac-Mégantic on Transport Canada, the inspectors, and the managers.
The department has worked diligently to correct the deficiencies this terrible tragedy brought to the forefront. The government's response to this committee's final report highlights these efforts.
Under the direction of the previous government, one of the things that management did was to attempt to address the challenges of inspector hiring. Modal safety divisions hired above budget to address skill shortages and the significant number of retirements expected.
Inspectors take years to train and many of them come to Transport Canada from industry in the later stages of their working lives. They are hard to hire because they need extensive skills and qualifications. They are hard to attract because wages in the private sector are often now better than in government.
We were dismayed to see the new government cut back Transport Canada's budget by 21%, while increasing its deficits by $25 billion. That, combined with the staffing challenges for technical inspectors that focus on soft skills such as communication, rather than the technical expertise, the option of competing with private sector to attract the best has been negatively impacted.
Additionally, these cuts are putting Transport Canada in the terrible situation of cutting back critically important transportation safety functions, such as the number or types of inspections and the inspectors. If the Government of Canada does not provide effective transportation safety oversight, then what does the federal government do?
Our concern is that these budget cuts potentially sacrifice Transport Canada's mandate, which is to provide the safety and security of the travelling public. We need more rail, aviation, marine, dangerous goods, and road safety inspectors, not fewer.
My only conclusion is that this government has the confidence to cut inspections and inspectors because it believes that safety management systems will be sufficient to correct the deficiencies. Unfortunately, we know that the MMA Railway had an SMS program. The result was that 42 people were killed, and the three employees who were following MMA procedures are the ones who are criminally charged.
SMS is not the answer to the problems at Lac-Mégantic. Better inspections, regulations, organizational structures, and whistle-blower protections are.
For years UCTE has been trying to convince Transport Canada to adopt effective whistle-blower protections to separate inspectors from SMS auditors and to create multimodal enforcement teams. They are listening, but it is very slow going and there is so much more that needs to be done at Transport Canada, including the following.
More inspectors are required, as well as a guarantee of investment in appropriate inspector training to maintain skill levels. For too long railways have taken for granted that the lobbying clout can supersede the will of a Transport Canada inspector. This should never be the case.
Inspectors and auditors at Transport Canada need ministerial authorizations with the complete backing of managers at all levels and the minister. This new approach, attitude, and confidence in the inspectorate community should be communicated immediately and the appropriate ministerial authorizations in all the safety statutes need to be addressed and emphasized.
SMS paper audits can never be a substitute for direct and unannounced inspections by teams of inspectors and SMS auditors. Multidisciplinary teams should include transportation of dangerous goods inspectors where railways are carrying hazardous products.
The language and structure at Transport Canada should be simplified. There are too many ways to define both SMS and inspections. There should be only two effective oversight terms: inspection and SMS audit. There should be separate teams of inspectors and auditors for each. SMS can never be whatever a railway company wants to define it as. SMS definitions and regulations must be clear and unambiguous in simple, easy-to-understand language.
There needs to be one accountable government executive by mode. There are too many executives and too much overlap between the regional structures and Ottawa oversight of transport.
I am happy and we take credit for the whistle-blower protections that were built into the recently revised Railway Safety Act. We believe there could be better communication to all transportation company employees about the whistle-blower protections and the means and methodologies to deploy these protections. Confusion exists since Transport Canada and the Transportation Safety Board present different whistle-blower options. Perhaps there could be a rationalization and a better communication to both the public and the industry about the whistle-blower procedures, as well as the protections afforded by those procedures.
Transport Canada needs to incorporate better use of technology for inspectors to do its oversight work more effectively. For example, regulations could be put in place to force carriers and shippers to place real-time monitoring systems on railcars containing certain classes of dangerous goods.
The fact is that railways carrying railcars with dangerous goods run through major urban centres and towns across Canada. The public, municipal leaders, and first responders are demanding real-time information on the types of goods that are flowing through their communities. It is time to tell the shippers and the railway companies that they have to disclose in real time. It may be possible to build in some commercial protections, but there is no way in this day and age that these kinds of disclosures can be withheld any longer from the people who are most affected.
In closing, I can tell you that our inspector and investigator members at Transport Canada and the Transportation Safety Board are among the most public-minded, committed, and professional people I know. They are always trying to do their best; they work hard to acquire new skills and training; they know they have jobs with deep responsibilities, and they discharge these duties with great passion and commitment. We need to nurture these incredibly important people and find ways to help them work smarter, better, and more effectively.
I think that many of these recommendations will go some way to help them achieve these goals. Most important, you as legislators and government leaders need to have confidence in them and the managers they report to. These are tough jobs that the federal government has the constitutional mandate to do, and to do well. Your support is critical.
Thank you again for the invitation to appear before you. Please know that I am always willing to answer any questions you may have, either now or at any other time.
First off, one of the things that we're here advocating as well, as it's in line with the intent of the committee, is that we want the public to have confidence in safe railway transportation.
All of us are railroaders. We have more iron in our blood than what we could get from any kind of an injection because we're born on the railway, we've worked on the railway, and we continue to advocate on behalf of the railway.
When it comes to railway inspections, from the perspective of our group, the mechanical group, it's a hit and miss. Out in the field there are some inspectors or some sectors of the country where we have inspectors who will intervene based on calls we would make to the inspector provided we have the right car number, the right train number, the right location. That happens.
But in terms of what we might see in comparison, say, to the trucking industry in a provincial sector where they will shut down a section of highway, and every tractor trailer that comes by will get stopped and inspected, we don't see that.
The reason I suspect we don't see that, as Jerry commented earlier, is that it's about train velocity. The railway barons do not want you, or Transport Canada, or anybody else slowing their trains down. In fact, some of the CEOs are out there advocating that in order to make the railway safer, trains should be moving faster.
In terms of Transport Canada, we need to see more inspectors out there. We need to see them more as interventionists not as auditors because they play a key role in ensuring that the public has confidence in rail safety.
Whether it's air, road, or rail, there are always going to be some members who want to get their hours in. I know that when we did the roads—because I helped to do that—I took a lot of heat from members who felt they were safe.
Part of regulation is to ensure they are safe and, as a union's job, we can't agree to anything that isn't safe. When you have regulations that would permit that to occur, it's not a failure of the worker: it's a failure of the regulations. It's also the failure of a company who would take advantage of it and knowingly allow a worker to work too long.
So the answer is yes. You just have to look at the trucking regs and the hours of service. You can look at the new pilot regs. You will see the aspects of it.
I'll give you the simplest way possible. This doesn't deal with all fatigue science, but it's a very simple way to look at it. Look at how many hours somebody is tied up in their job. Take 10 to 12 hours to get 8 hours' rest. If it adds up to more than 24 hours, you have a violation of fatigue science. In these cases where the workers are waiting a long time to get out and are working 12 hours, they're effectively doing 16-, 18- and 20-hour days. Tack on 10 hours' sleep, and it's a violation.
In no other industry is that required. I will tell you that in trucking they wanted to go to 18 hours. If you look at that study, you'll find that the sleep scientists who looked at it said that in good conscience not only was it bad for public safety, but it was also terrible for the health of these workers. They would not permit it; hence, the reason we're asking for a study, because that's exactly what's happening. These workers are going to work and causing a great deal of damage to their own bodies over time with various diseases. It's a cost to health care that companies are allowed to make a profit from.
The answer, if workers do this, is that you need to have regulations in place to stop it. That is something that came up in trucking and that came up in air, and we all have to be strong and tell people, “No, you can't do it.”
On the dangerous goods side, there have been a number of advisory councils and many committees ongoing and going forward, and we participate on most of them.
But, again, on many of the issues that we'd have raised, things like municipalities getting direct access, the answer was no. A lot of good work has been done. We still have committees ongoing. I find it surprising that it takes three to four years, or two to three years after an accident occurs. I find it shocking. Was it 40 years ago for Hinton?
We still haven't dealt with fatigue. It just seems that in this industry, it takes way too long. I worked on 9/11. It was a hard time. It didn't take 15 years to get something done—though, to be honest, it was only about two-and-a-half years ago that we wrapped up the last little bit.
When I see problems in other sectors, we really seem to get the buy-in from industry. We get the buy-in and we move forward. In this one, it's zero. That's why I hope this committee, its staff and MPs, can work together, as I have worked on previous occasions. I think I've met about eight of you so far.
I hope you all get together and talk, your staff gets together and talks about it, because this committee really has a lot of power from my experience with previous committees. The recommendations you put forward are something we can carry forward and get done.
This is something that just has to get done. It's not just fatigue. It's not just inspectors. It's the industry itself. The railway companies need to be helped themselves to bring them into the 21st century. We can do better, we should do better, and I am looking forward to working with you to get there.