RMT campaign against introduction of new Inter-City trains

RMT campaign against introduction of new Inter-City trains

8 December 2014

RMT Press Office

RAIL UNION RMT today confirmed that it is stepping up the campaign to fight plans that would lead to the axing of buffet cars, on-board staff and maintenance workers on First Great Western and East Coast Inter-City services. The union, backed by MP’s in Early Day Motion 584, has blasted the move as “ushering in an “Upstairs-Downstairs” service on Inter-City services while British passengers pay the highest fares in Europe.”

As part of the on-going RMT campaign to defend jobs, services and safety on the new East Coast and First Great Western franchises there will be two important public demonstrations on the morning of next Monday, the 15th December, at Cardiff Central Station, Central Square CF10 1EP and Kings Cross Station, Euston Road N1 9AL. Both will take place at 8.00 am.

RMT has been battling against proposals for driver only operation and the removal of buffet cars and their replacement by a trolley service only catering facility, the sacking and reducing of the safety critical operational role of train guards /conductors as well as station de-staffing and ticket office closures. The union has also objected to proposals that could see the loss of skilled safety critical train maintenance jobs as part of the deal.

The two events on the 15th December in Cardiff and London will mark the start of a new wave of campaigning with thousands of postcards distributed the length and breadth of both the Great Western and East Coast routes urging the public to get involved in the fight for jobs, services and safety and to pile pressure on their MP’s to formally support the RMT campaign by signing up to EDM 584 (below).

 RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said ;‎

“This Government of the rich, for the rich and by the rich now intend to introduce an “Upstairs-Downstairs” service on Britain’s long haul rail services which would condemn the vast majority to pay through the nose to travel in rammed-out carriages where the catering trolley is jammed at one end while the elite glide through the country like extras from Downton Abbey . This move has got the stamp of Cameron, Osborne and the posh boys from the Bullingdon Club plastered all over it. RMT believes that all rail users deserve a high quality service and that means employing the staff to deliver that rather than cutting corners to maximise profits and targeting what’s left at the rich.
“RMT is throwing it’s full resources and industrial and political clout behind the fight to stop this attack on jobs, services and safety arising from the introduction of the Inter-City fleet on both the East Coast and the Great Western routes. These new Hitachi trains have been explicitly commissioned by the Government to allow the sacking of on-board staff, the axing of buffet cars and have left a question mark hanging over the future of the existing maintenance depots.

“These plans are also wholly bound up with the Governments ideological move to bulldoze through the re- privatisation of  the East Coast rail services while the refranchising of the Great Western route is mired in controversy and back-room deals and First Group has been consigned to the ranks of corporate basket-case. RMT will not stand back while our members jobs and futures are caught in the crossfire of this right-wing madness.
 “RMT’s campaign will point out the public that they have a massive stake in this drive to milk the Inter-City routes for every penny the private companies can extract. They would be forced to pay higher fares to travel on crowded and unsafe trains where they will struggle to even get a drink of water on a long haul journey. We will be calling on the passengers to join us in piling pressure on their MP’s to reverse this latest assault on rail services and jobs in the name of private greed.”

That this House notes with concern that government and train operating company plans for implementing the multibillion pound Intercity Express rolling stock programme which will ultimately be funded by the taxpayer and fare-payer could see significant staffing cuts on East Coast and Great Western services; is dismayed that new rolling stock being introduced from 2017 could have the buffet car removed, meaning that hot food and meals will only be available in first class whilst other passengers will be forced to rely on a trolley-only service for long, often crowded, journeys so more seats can be crammed onto inter-city services, and perturbed that this upstairs-downstairs catering service is under consideration when passengers already pay the highest rail fares in Europe; is alarmed that driver only operation is also proposed for this rolling stock which would downgrade the train guard's safety operational role and increase risks to passengers by restricting responsibility for safe operation of the train to the driver; further notes that passenger safety and service will be further jeopardised if the new rolling stock is used as cover for de-staffing stations, particularly train dispatch staff; further notes the threat to skilled maintenance workers' jobs in these proposals which would further impact on passenger safety and service and exacerbate the rail industry skills crisis; and calls on the Government to reject any contracts for East Coast and Great Western services which propose any such cuts to rail staff.

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Tagged with: east coast, first great western, fgw, inter-city, edm 584, early day motion 584