9 April 2014
Rail union RMT is gearing up for a major protest at a presentation in Newcastle this Friday by one of the approved bidders to take the publicly-owned East Coast route back into private ownership. The protest – targeting the bidders Eurostar/Keolis – has been set as follows:
FRIDAY 11TH APRIL 2014 – 12 Noon
Outside the Banqueting Suite,
Centre For Life, Newcastle
Despite previous franchise chaos, and total collapse on two occasions, the ConDem government has made it clear that it is determined to push ahead with the re-privatisation of the highly-successful, publicy-owned East Coast route before the next election.
RMT, along with sister rail unions, the TUC, rail users and some MP’s, is fighting the reprivatisation plans which would rob the rail network of hundreds of millions of pounds of investment currently being returned by East Coast DOR and instead re-open the route for wholesale plundering by private speculators after two previous spectacular private failures on the line.
RMT Acting General Secretary Mick Cash said:
“Privatisation has been a disaster for Britain's railways, they now cost between three and four times more in tax payer subsidy than the publicly owned British Rail .
“We are also lumbered with the highest fares in Europe but despite all the billions in profits in subsidies robbed by the private companies in the past two decades, front line staff jobs and safety are under threat as the exploitation ratchets up another gear. Cuts to station staff, threats to ticket offices and train catering facilities, attacks on the role of Guard, alongside the outsourcing and contracting out of jobs, are all on the agenda as the East Coast is fattened-up for re-privatisastion.
“So, this Friday the rail privateer vultures will be circling again over Newcastle where Eurostar/Keolis - one of the bidders for East Coast - are holding a presentation and lunch at the Centre for Life banqueting suite.
“RMT will be outside of the event at 12noon prompt with postcards, banners and flags making our case that our railways and their passengers are better off in public hands.”