Wednesday 16th March 2016
Circular No. National Policy NP/090/16/MC
To the Secretary all Branches & Regional Councils
Defend Rail Jobs in the North
I am writing to invite you to the first of a series of events in the North of England in opposition to the cuts programme, attacks on supervisory and clerical jobs, the introduction of Driver Only Operation and increased casualization arising from the re-franchising processes. The TUC and rail union-led Action for Rail campaign is holding a rally in Manchester on 31 March to call for a decent and properly staffed railway for the North in the Mechanics Institute, Manchester at 18.00.
The new franchise has been awarded to Arriva Rail North, a subsidiary of Deutsche Bahn, owned by the German government. While the franchise is being presented as a stage in the increasingly discredited “Northern Powerhouse”, the reality will be cuts to jobs and services with profits directed to support German state railways. As a German Transport spokesperson has said:
“We're skimming profit from the entire Deutsche Bahn and ensuring that it is anchored in our budget - that way we can make sure it is invested in the rail network here in Germany.”
There is no basis for cost-cutting on the North's railways, but a major need for investment.
Passenger demand for the North's railway will soar by over 50 per cent over the next 15 years, according to Rail North's own estimates. Yet currently passengers are crowded into old worn-out trains and as with passengers throughout the UK, pay some of the most expensive fares in Europe.
The new franchise is to be jointly managed by the government and Rail North, a body comprised of 29 Northern Councils.
The rally is part of our wider campaign work to prevent cuts to staffing and services.