12 January 2017
RMT Press Office:
Government plans for Taxpayer to pay hundreds of millions to take on Unions to introduce Driver Only Trains.
Employers to profit by over £1 billion documents reveal
RAIL UNION RMT claimed today that it is scandalous that the government is inserting clauses in new franchise agreements that will allow employers to claim back revenue lost for industrial action as a result of extending Driver Only Operation (DOO) across the network.
While taxpayers are being lined up to bankroll the government’s war on the rail unions, an official report by the rail employers body the Railway Safety Standards Board says that train companies will benefit to the tune of £1.1bn over the next 20 years for implementing the government’s plan for getting rid of guards.
The Southern contract with the government means that company has not lost any revenues as a result of industrial action and instead the bill is footed by the taxpayer. RMT research has found that the cost to the taxpayer to date of this lost revenue is in the region of £60 million pounds.
Now is has been revealed that the Northern Rail franchise agreement, which contains a government directive to introduce DOO, also contains a clause promising employers that the government “may at any time decide to reimburse or ameliorate net losses of the Franchisee arising from Industrial Action (however caused and of whatever nature).”
With similar clauses set to be contained in the new South West and West Midlands Trains franchises the cost to the taxpayer of the government’s DOO policy is set to rise to hundreds of millions.
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said;
“As with the Southern contract, the government is inserting clauses into new franchise agreements which will mean the tax payer will bankroll Teresa May’s war on the unions.
“It is absolutely scandalous that the public purse will be footing the bill for any industrial action taken against private rail companies. We also now know that that at the same time rail bosses are going to make over £1 billion implementing the government’s policy of getting rid of guards.
“It is clear that the Southern and other disputes are nothing to do with modernising our railway and everything to do with old fashioned union busting and cost cutting.”
Notes for editors
Extract from RSSB report March 2015 – Evaluating technological solutions to support DOO despatch, page 56
“At the current levels of guard turnover, it is estimated that with natural wastage and no compulsory redundancies, staffing levels for guards would halve within 9 years. At that point, it would be cost-effective to switch to an operational regime with NSCOS on fewer trains. This would improve the 20-year NPV from £0.7 billion to £1.1 billion.”
Extract from Northern Franchise Agreement
Miscellaneous Payment Provisions
“The Secretary of State, in his discretion, may at any time decide to reimburse or ameliorate net losses of the Franchisee arising from Industrial Action (however caused and of whatever nature) in circumstances where the Franchisee has demonstrated to the satisfaction of the Secretary of State that it has taken all reasonable steps to avoid the Industrial Action and that, Industrial Action having nevertheless occurred, the Franchisee has taken all reasonable steps to mitigate its effects. “
Southern figures based on forecast passenger revenue of £2.1m a day extrapolated from ORR data.