26 February 2020
RMT Press Office
RMT report warns the government plans to resuscitate rail privatisation
RAIL UNION RMT has released a new report which reveals the government and Keith Williams expected announcement of their intention to overhaul the privatised railway – badged as the ‘end of franchising’ – is likely to lead to more profiteering and more dividends flowing overseas while leaving passengers trapped in a fragmented and expensive rail network.
RMT’s new report ‘Reanimating the Corpse’ examines the record of management contracts and concessions on the privatised railway, widely touted as being the government’s favoured option for the future of privatisation, revealing that:
• There is no evidence that concessions and management contracts will be any better than the current franchises in running a punctual and reliable service.
• Out of total profits of £204 million made by the concessions since they began, £196 million (96%) has been turned into shareholder dividend.
• The concessions account for 8% of the total dividend payments made by TOCs in the last 10 years, but they account for less than 4% of the passenger kilometres on the network.
• 65% of this dividend bonanza has flowed overseas because of the degree to which private rail companies are owned by overseas (often foreign state-owned) companies.
• Concessions and management contracts will represent no break with the failed privatisation of the past 27 years and may even offer greater opportunities for private companies to extract value from our railway system at public expense.
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said,
“We’re going to hear a lot of big talk shortly about a new beginning on the railways but the reality is that any attempt to re-establish privatisation on the basis of concessions and management contracts is going to be another pathetic attempt to reanimate a corpse.
“Grant Shapps knows that it was public ownership that rebuilt our infrastructure and public ownership that improved services on the East Coast Mainline and that’s why he announced the nationalisation of Northern recently.
“Any government that wasn’t in bed with big transport companies and City financiers would turn its back on this failed experiment, follow the logic that’s staring it in the face, and bring the whole network into public ownership."
Notes for Editors
The full RMT report ‘Reanimating the corpse - How the Williams review will attempt to resuscitate rail privatisation’ can be downloaded here: