11 March 2021
RMT Press Office:
Government must use powers to prevent transport giant GO–AHEAD paying pandemic profiteering dividend says RMT.
As rail giant GO-AHEAD has announced its intention to pay a dividend, RMT is writing to the government to say it should use its powers to prevent such pandemic profiteering.
In a statement today the company said,
“The Board continues to work towards paying a dividend at an appropriate level in the 2021 calendar year.”
In a parliamentary question the rail minister has said, for the duration of the rail Emergency Recovery Measures Agreements (ERMAs):
“that payment of dividends may not be made without the Secretary of State’s consent.”
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:
“It is utterly unacceptable for GO- AHEAD to be planning a dividend on the backs of emergency tax payer funding and also rail workers who have been told they have to accept a two year pay freeze.
“We are writing to the government to say they should use their powers to block this dividend and indeed the overall profits other rail companies stand to make, and instead give our rail staff the pay rise they deserve as essential workers.
“The announcement today by GO-AHEAD is pandemic profiting ultimately cooked up and sanctioned by the Treasury and we will also demanding a meeting with Rishi Sunak the architect of the pay freeze.
“It’s time to freeze their profits, not our rail workers pay”
Govia also owns South Eastern which is operating under an Emergency Measures Agreement until October 2020. This does not currently allow the payment of dividends, but the operator is a paid a management fee which can be used to accrue profits and therefore could be used to pay a dividend in the future.