11 August 2014
RMT Press Office
RAIL UNION RMT will be out at key rail locations throughout this week, with events in Whitehaven and Bolton today, in the continuing campaign to halt savage cuts to jobs, services and safety arising out of the bogus and rushed consultation on the future of the Northern and Trans Pennine franchises, being conducted by the Department of Transport.
The consultation, which is due to end on the 18th of August, has sparked off a massive and widespread campaign of opposition by RMT which has engaged tens of thousands of people across the area affected compared to an almost non-existent “listening” exercise conducted by the DfT and their associates at the little-known “Rail North.” RMT has so far organised close to 50 public events during the consultation compared to a pitiful 5 by the DfT and Rail North, including not a single event in Cumbria, one of the areas hardest hit by the plans.
The proposals have been condemned as the “Beeching of the North” by unions and campaigners – Dr Beeching was responsible for the report in the 1960’s that led to savage cuts and closures on Britain’s railways.
The ongoing RMT programme of events includes:
WHITEHAVEN -MONDAY 11th August 2014 - 6am -7.30am - meet outside Whitehaven Station
BOLTON - MONDAY 11th AUGUST 2014 - 7am - 9.30am - meet outside Bolton Station
HARTLEPOOL - TUESDAY 12th AUGUST 2014 - 12pm - 3pm MIDDLETON GRANGE SHOPPING CENTRE (we have brought this event forward - this is the new time and date).
HEXHAM - TUESDAY 12th AUGUST 2014 - 16.45 - 18.45 - Meet outside Hexham Railway Station
SUNDERLAND - WEDNESDAY 13th August 2014 - 11am - 2pm - meet Outside Sunderland Station (Station Taxi Rank Entrance)
WAKEFIELD KIRKGATE - WEDNESDAY 13th August 2014 - 7.30am - 9.30am - meet outside Wakefield Kirkgate Station
STEETON & SILSDEN - THURSDAY 14th August 2014 - 7am - 9.30am - meet outside Steeton and Silsden station
MIDDLESBROUGH - FRIDAY 15th August 2014 - Meet at 12pm - 3pm meet at Middlesbrough Station - Zetland Road Car Park Entrance
RMT has listed a catalogue of issues that the union is mobilising the industrial, political and public campaign around;
· Driver Only Operation to be introduced on the Northern franchise
· Driver Only Operation to be left at the discretion of the franchisee on the TPE
· Reducing ticket office opening times
· Cuts to “back room and support functions” staff
· Increasing fares
RMT Acting General Secretary Mick Cash said:
“RMT has engaged tens of thousands of people across the region in the fight against the attacks on jobs and services smuggled through in the Government’s consultation document on the future of the Northern and Trans-Pennine Express franchises. That campaign continues today and throughout the week as the bogus and rushed Government consultation draws to a close. RMT continues to pull in massive public support for our campaign and the response we are getting from the public has been totally supportive as people know exactly what’s at stake.
“These plans amount to nothing less than the “Beeching of the North” – wrecking and closing essential rail services without any regard for the impact on the communities that we serve.
“Let’s not forget that the core of these plans is to axe jobs, throw the guards off the trains and jack up fares while capacity to meet surging rail demand in the area is left to stagnate. RMT is stepping up the fight to both inform the public and fight the savage cuts being lined up for these Northern rail franchises. We have been getting fantastic support, thousands of post cards have been distributed and the political and public pressure is growing across the region as the consultation draws to a close.”