12 April 2018
RMT Press Office:
Over two months after he announced Virgin would be thrown off the East Coast Mainline franchise RMT demands answers from Transport Secretary
Over two months after the Transport Secretary rose to tell the House of Commons that he would be terminating the Virgin Trains East Coast contract, staff union RMT has demanded to know exactly what is going on and has once again raised the call for the whole operation to be brought back into public ownership.
This week, campaigners have once again taken to the streets demanding public ownership of the East Coast Mainline and Labour have mobilised a call for a broad public and political push to make it happen.
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said;
“It’s now over two months since Chris Grayling told the House of Commons that Virgin Trains East Coast had effectively gone bust. Since then we have heard precisely nothing other than persistent rumours throughout the industry that Virgin/Stagecoach are going to be offered a new management contract to carry on regardless despite screwing the service into the ground. That would be reward for failure on a truly epic scale.
“RMT also understands that Mr Grayling has paid nothing but lip-service to the public sector option that he himself talked about in the House of Commons back in February. Since then it has emerged that his Department have shut down the Directly Operated Railways vehicle and have made no effort to work through the necessary licences and competencies required to put a public operation on standby. That is a shocking dereliction of duty.
“The privatised East Coast Main Line has failed the travelling public and it has failed the workers who operate it. It has been a disaster from day one and has exposed once and for all the racket of rail privatisation in Britain. Continuing to leave staff and passengers in the dark more than two months after Chris Grayling was forced to cut the failed Virgin operation adrift is nothing short of scandalous.
“There are RMT members on the job today who have gone from British Rail, to GNER, to National Express, to Directly Operated Railways, to Virgin/Stagecoach and who are now left wondering who their sixth employer will be in little more than two decades on this vital section of Britain’s rail network. That is a shameful way to treat the workforce and shines the spotlight on the continuing chaos of rail privatisation.
“It is now imperative that we bring this scandal to an end and that the Government re-establish a publicly owned and controlled operation to take back control of the East Coast Main Line on a permanent basis.”