28 January 2022
RMT Press Office:
As passengers return to the railway, a new RMT survey reveals that train companies will provide less food and drink on short and long-distance journeys.
A survey of over 1000 rail workers who supply and help sell food and drink on the UK’s railways has revealed that 85% of rail caterers think that the Government and train companies will look to cut catering services and jobs in the future and 90% think that cuts to rail catering will make it more difficult for passengers to get food and drink during journeys.
90% of rail catering workers said that they believed the cuts were likely because the train companies were putting profit before passengers, a problem exacerbated by the outsourcing of rail catering services. Over 90% think that all rail catering should be provided in-house rather than outsourced.
As ‘Plan B’ Covid restrictions are relaxed and more passengers return to the rail network, RMT is warning that the Government and Train Companies’ planned attacks on rail catering risk permanently pushing passengers away from the sustainable rail network. Despite the essential role that rail catering plays in enhancing the passenger experience, the Government and rail industry are planning short-sighted and regressive cuts which would see catering jobs lost across the rail network and catering services further reduced or withdrawn completely.
The low carbon railway has an essential role to play in fighting climate change, yet these cuts would worsen the passenger experience and accelerate the climate crisis by pushing passengers into cars and planes.
RMT is today launching a new campaign to protect the future of rail catering. RMT is demanding that not only is rail catering protected, but it is expanded, and all provision brought in-house. RMT believes that a high-quality catering provision makes rail journeys far more pleasant for passengers and is essential in delivering modal shift to rail.
General Secretary Mick Lynch said:
“For all the talk from politicians and company bosses of making the post covid railway more attractive, this survey of staff who actually deliver a key service shows that workers believe damaging cuts are on the way. These latest possible cuts mean you will be waiting longer for a cup of tea or sandwich or you might not even get one at all. As importantly, rail caterers are passenger assistance professionals, they provide advice, enhance the overall passenger experience and provide extra support and safety assurance.
As our survey shows, rail caterers know that these cuts are about cutting costs, not improving the service for passengers.
We should be expanding, not cutting, rail catering and bringing all provision in-house. Rail catering should be the norm, not an exception.
These profit driven cuts will push passengers away from the sustainable railway into cars and planes and exacerbate the climate crisis.
That’s why RMT is campaigning to protect rail catering and is demanding an end to cuts to catering services and jobs.”