1 July 2014
RMT Press Office
RMT to hold summit talks with MP's over fight to save jobs, services and safety on Northern Rail and Trans Pennine Express
RAIL UNION RMT will be holding summit talks with Northern MP’s on July 15th as the union pushes for support for an Early Day Motion ( http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2014-15/174 ) as part of the drive to protect rail services across the region from a co-ordinated attack unleashed by the Government from its offices in London.
RMT has already pledged to mobilise an all-out fight to stop the destruction of jobs, services and safety on Northern Rail and Trans Pennine Express in the wake of a Government franchising “consultation” that would rip the two franchises to shreds in the name of maximising private profit.
Meetings, protests and other activities, backed up by the production of campaigning materials by RMT, are already underway and will escalate in the weeks ahead as the travelling public are given the full facts about what the Government plans would mean in practice:
• Driver Only Operation to be introduced on the Northern franchise
• Driver Only Operation to be left at the discretion of the franchisee on the TPE
• Reducing ticket office opening times
• Cuts to “back room and support functions” staff
• Possible “alliancing” between franchisees and Network Rail
• Encouraging “local delivery models” and community rail (especially in the North East of Northern franchise)
• Increasing fares
• Promoting third party funding of services
RMT acting general secretary Mick Cash said:
“RMT is hosting a summit meeting with Northern MP’s on the 15th of July at which we will both lay out the full facts of the Government’s plans for rail in the North and set out what the politicians can do to assist the fight to stop the wholesale destruction of the railways in their own back yards – starting with support for Early Day Motion 174 .
“It is sickening that only last week we had the grotesque sight of George Osborne parading around, talking about a High Speed Rail link in the North that’s light years off into the future, if it ever sees the light of day, while at the same time he is the driving force between real cuts to jobs, services and safety in the region right here, right now.
“It is clear as day that the full force of the Government’s McNulty cuts programme is to be unleashed on Northern and Trans Pennine Express in an exercise that would slash jobs, destroy safety and axe ticket offices and other passenger services while allowing fares and profits to soar through the roof. RMT is gearing up for a political, industrial and public campaign to stop this act of savage vandalism to rail services across the north and into Scotland dead in its tracks.
“Rolling stock and investment is being shipped south to maximise profits on other lucrative franchises that are closer to the homes of the political elite driving this rail-austerity programme, while the north is systematically robbed of capacity despite surging demand. The message to the public could not be clearer – “pay more to travel on overcrowded, unstaffed trains where your safety is reduced to a lottery”. That is the message RMT will be taking out to the stations in the weeks ahead.
“The only solution to this on-going scandal on our railways is public ownership. As well as our own summit with the MP’s from the areas in the frontline, RMT is also demanding an urgent meeting with both Rail North and the Government over these shocking cuts plans for key rail services.”