Why the UK needs a publicly owned railway

Dear Colleagues,

Last month, we surveyed RMT activists working in rail to ask for your views of working in the railway and about how the current privatised and fragmented structure impacts on your workplace and on passengers.

The survey was carried out in order to inform the Union’s response to the Government commissioned Williams Review into the future structure of the railway, as it is vital that the review hears first hand from the people who work on the railway day in, day out.

Thank you to everyone who responded to the survey - the response was overwhelming, over 800 responses were received in just a few days. There were hundreds of comments, describing an industry in which the pursuit of private profit drives all decisions.

Key findings included:

• 94% of railway workers said that train companies are most motivated by making a profit, rather than providing a service for passengers and value for money.
• 80% of railway workers think their company will try to increase profits at the expense of jobs and conditions.
• 89% of railway workers believe the current privatised system should be replaced with a publicly owned and nationally integrated railway.
• 91% of railway workers believe that the railway would work better as a national single unified organisation, rather than as separate companies, as is currently the case.
• 80% of railway workers think rail nationalisation would lead to better industrial relations.

An RMT pamphlet has been produced from the survey responses – setting out what RMT railway workers say about why the current system has failed, and what it should look like instead. The survey feedback has directly informed the Union’s response to the Williams Review which is due to report in the autumn.

Due to the sheer volume of feedback received, we were not able to include all of your comments in the document. However, all of the feedback will be used to inform future campaigning and work.

The document is available to view and a hard copy will also be sent to you in the post to help arm you with the arguments needed to campaign for renationalisation and also to support our campaigning around the Williams Review in the months ahead.


Many Thanks,


Mick Cash
General Secretary