18 February 2016
RMT Press Office:
RMT demands end to staff cuts and profiteering as Which? report shows a further collapse in passenger satisfaction.
RAIL UNION RMT today demanded an end to staff cuts and “rampant profiteering” across the rail network as a new Which? report, published this morning, revealed a further collapse in passenger satisfaction with services in the South East once again in the firing line.
The Which? report comes hot on the heels of figures released by the Office of Rail and Road last week which revealed that Govia Thameslink Railway - which is responsible for Thameslink and Great Northern, Southern and Gatwick Express services and where plans have just been unveiled to axe 81 ticket offices - had the most delays and cancellations caused by a lack of staff between April 1 2013 and December 12 last year with 62,000 incidents. Southern have also threatened to throw the guards off their trains as they scramble to milk the franchise for every penny they can get.
RMT has said that it has come as no surprise to the union that overcrowding, poor value for money and dirty trains were top of the issues raised by this latest Which? survey of almost 7,000 travellers. RMT says that those complaints are directly related to a desperate shortage of fleet, the great rail fares rip-off and the hammering down on cleaner numbers in the dash for private profit.
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:
“This latest Which? survey confirms everything that RMT has said about the great British rail rip-off that leaves passengers paying the highest fares in Europe to travel on dirty, unreliable trains while the private operators are laughing all the way the way to the bank.
“It is scandalous that the basket-case Govia Thameslink franchise, the worst of a bad bunch on the current figures, is planning further attacks on ticket offices and staffing numbers as they scramble to squeeze out every penny in profits that they possibly can.
“The bottom line is that we need a publicly-owned railway with safe and proper staffing levels, cleaners who are respected and rewarded and a major expansion in fleet and capacity. RMT will continue to ram home the case for public ownership.”