RMT calls into question validity of "Rail North" membership

RMT calls into question validity of

26 February 2015

RMT Press Office

RAIL UNION RMT has written to local authorities across the North after it emerged that council’s opposed to the attack on jobs and services contained in the Northern and Trans-Pennine proposals - plans for which Rail North has acted as a Government cheer-leader – have been levered into the Rail North consortium at the last minute without their position being taken into account.

In a letter to local authorities, RMT General Secretary Mick Cash says:
“It has been brought to my attention that in the past week a number of local authorities across the north of England have been requested to, and subsequently have, formalised their relationship with Rail North. As you will be aware, many local authorities across the North of England have condemned the proposals in the DfT & Rail North consultation document.
This brings into question whether or not any real input has been made into the refranchising process by those authorities and gives weight to the Transport Select Committee’s concerns as to whether or not “the interests of rail passengers outside the North’s city regions will be protected under the devolution to Rail North.” This is especially true given that some of the contacted authorities have been listed amongst the 30 partners of Rail North since before the consultation began on 9th June 2014.
It would be greatly appreciated if you could please let me know:
•         When did your Council officially become a partner of Rail North?
•         Has your Council played any role in assessing the responses to the consultation?
•         Has your Council had any input into the Invitation to Tender documents?
The Transport Select Committee has stated that: “If devolution is genuine, Rail North’s stance should be reflected in the Invitation to Tender”. I believe that the further question must be asked is that if Rail North is genuine, the positions of its 30 partners should be reflected in its actions.
I look forward to your reply.”
Meanwhile, RMT has been alerted to the likely publication of the Invitation to Tender Documents for the new Northern and TPE franchises this week – possibly on Friday. The documents are likely to include savage attacks on jobs, services and safety despite a massive RMT-led campaign of opposition.
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:
“There are serious questions that need to be asked about the way that Rail North is trying to lever local authorities into its orbit who are fundamentally opposed to the cuts to jobs and services that Rail North has acted as a cheerleader for on behalf of the Government. RMT is asking all local authorities across the region to check that they are not being misrepresented by this shadowy Rail North outfit.
“We are hearing that the Invitation to Tender Documents for the new Northern and TPE franchises are due for imminent release, possibly on Friday, and may well roll out the same cuts to jobs and services that were a major feature of the bogus DfT/Rail North consultation.
“RMT is geared up and ready to continue the fight to save jobs, services and safety on rail services across the North and we will make sure that it is major issue in the run up to the general election.”

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