Our Ref: BR2/0025

29 January 2020

Dear colleague


You will have heard the announcement from the Government today that it has been forced to take the Northern railway franchise into public ownership from 1st March 2020 under what is known as the Department for Transport’s Operator of Last Resort.

The collapse of the franchise is widely known to be no reflection of the hard work you and your colleagues put in to this company but rather is seen as an example of yet another broken private franchise model that is run by a bunch of private speculators to squeeze profits for its shareholders at the expense of its employees and the travelling public.

You should be in no doubt that, while this move is welcome, your union will still take whatever action is necessary to protect our members’ jobs and conditions, pensions and working arrangements. I can also advise that RMT will now be campaigning to ensure that the move to take the franchise into public ownership is not a short-term fix pending a sell-off to another group of greedy opportunists but is part of a general trend to bring all railway franchises together as part of an integrated national public service. We will also continue our campaign to defend the safety critical role of the guard and bring an end to the threat of DOO.

You and your colleagues have worked through tirelessly on the front-line of this failed Northern franchise, while Arriva management have spent their time checking their share prices and ignoring the whole host of problems these privateers have caused. Northern has been a financial failure as well as an operational failure that Arriva – and its parent company Deutsche Bahn – has overseen.

As I say above, your union will take all necessary steps to defend the interests of you and your colleagues on this franchise during what will be an inevitable TUPE transfer process and ensure your continuity of employment and all contractual obligations are met.

I will of course keep members fully advised on all further developments which arise on this matter but please be assured that your union will be prioritising the interests of you and your colleagues throughout this process.

Yours sincerely

Mick Cash
General Secretary