RMT demands clear answers over future of East Coast

RMT demands clear answers over future of East Coast

21 March 2018

RMT Press Office:

RMT demands clear answers and an end to the "barrage of obfuscation" over future of East Coast Main Line

RAIL UNION RMT today issued a direct challenge to Transport Secretary Chris Grayling to give clear answers and to end the barrage of obfuscation over the future of the inter-city East Coast Main Line as a series of parliamentary answers revealed that the Government are doing everything within their power to avoid returning the route to public ownership.
 When Transport Secretary Chris Grayling updated the House of Commons about East Coast on the 5th Feb 2018 he said:
 “It is now clear that this franchise will only be able to continue in its current form for a matter of a very small number of months and no more”.
Nearly two small months later nothing has happened even though this over bidding failure has been known for years.
RMT has already made it clear that Stagecoach think a new affordable contract is a done deal and with the dormant status of Directly Operated Railways Grayling must now come clean about who is going to run the service.
In an answer on the 19th March to a parliamentary question from Ian Mearns MP Rail Minister Joseph Johnson MP made it clear Directly Operated Railways Ltd (DOR) role is over:
“DOR’s historic role of acting as the holding company for an operator of last resort train operator ceased when that function was taken in-house by the Department on 31 December 2015”.
But on the 16th March in another answer to a question from Ian Mearns MP  Johnson previously said:
“ Directly Operated Railways Ltd is not a Train Operating Company so it is not necessary for it to be licensed for railway operations. In the event that the Department for Transport needs to step in to run rail passenger operations in its capacity as the Operator of last Resort it will use another of its companies as the train operator. The OLR is currently in discussion with the Office of Rail and Road to secure all relevant licenses, including those relating to safety, in line with its normal operating procedures. This is in connection with the Secretary of State’s announcement to Parliament of 5 February 2018”
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said;
 “The Government’s current position on the future of Britain’s vital East Coast routes is as obscure, unclear, and unintelligible as you can get. The whole thing stinks of yet another private sector stitch up.
“There are no “discussions” to run a railway through the public option as the parliamentary answers make clear. Any potential operator under the regulations must submit an application for a safety certificate and send, at the same time, either a copy of it to any ‘affected party’ or notifies that party where the documents can be accessed. Trade unions under the Regulations are ‘affected parties’ and to date we have received nothing.
“This is not just a tick box exercise. This is a deadly serious process and the regulations stipulate that operators have a duty to consult employees health and safety representatives when preparing their application and before it is sent. None of that has happened which points clearly to the public option Mr Grayling talked about when he dropped his bombshell in early February being nothing but hot air.
“The barrage of obfuscation over the future of Britain’s East Coast routes must stop and the charade of Chris Grayling’s  officials conducting “a full appraisal of the options”, when we believe that he has already decided to continue with Virgin/Stagecoach, must end. The public, and the dedicated staff who run these services, need to know the truth and RMT is demanding both clear answers and for the safe and secure public sector option to be placed back at the top of the agenda.”

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Tagged with: east coast, virgin trains east coast, ecml, stagecoach, we own it, chris grayling