18 June 2018
RMT Press Office:
Northern taxpayers and passengers will be footing bill for cost of this week's strike action union reveals
RAIL UNION RMT has called for last ditch talks to resolve this week's strike action as it is revealed northern taxpayers and passengers, and not Northern Rail, are footing the bill for the cost of strike action.
A clause in the franchise agreement signed between Northern Rail and the government says the Secretary of State, Chris Grayling, can reimburse Northern Rail for “net losses arising from industrial action”. This means the government is using northern taxpayers and passengers money to bankroll German state owned Northern for losses for the days of strike action to date and the three days of action this week.
MPs will be tabling questions in parliament to find out exactly how much taxpayers money has been handed over by Chris Grayling while Northern Rail bosses are also due to appear before the parliamentary transport select committee today, Monday, to discuss their shambolic management of the Northern franchise.
The union is calling on the company to agree last minute talks which would involve the company agreeing to meaningful discussions on how passengers could keep a second member of staff on every train.
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said;
“It’s another day and another rail scandal under Chris Grayling. It is utterly shocking that he is using Northern taxpayers and passenger’s money to reimburse German state owned northern rail for money they have lost as a result of strike action and we welcome that MPs are looking into this issue.
"By bankrolling Northern in this way Chris Grayling is seeking to prolong this dispute and break the workforce. Well, it will not work and our members remain as solid as ever in the fight to ensure safety and access for all on railways across the North.
"Instead of propping up a foreign owned company in its fight against British workers Chris Grayling should be allowing meaningful discussions to take place which would allow passengers to keep a second member of staff on every train.
"We are awaiting a positive response from Northern to the unions repeated call for talks. With the ongoing timetable shambles, and the high profile resignation on Govia Thameslink, it's time for Arriva Rail North to get their heads out of the sand and start taking their responsibilities seriously.”
Notes for editors
Extract from Northern Rail Franchise Agreement.
SCHEDULE 8.3 Miscellaneous Payment Provisions The Secretary of State, in his discretion, may at any time decide to reimburse or ameliorate net losses of the Franchisee arising from Industrial Action (however caused and of whatever nature) in circumstances where the Franchisee has demonstrated to the satisfaction of the Secretary of State that it has taken all reasonable steps to avoid the Industrial Action and that, Industrial Action having nevertheless occurred, the Franchisee has taken all reasonable steps to mitigate its effects