21 September 2020
RMT Press Office:
RMT responds to Government’s extension of Emergency Measures Agreements on UK rail franchises
Responding to an announcement that the Government is extending Emergency Measures Agreements on UK rail franchises with new ERMA’s contracts transport union RMT today called on the Government to cut out the middleman and bring all UK rail franchises into public ownership once and for all.
Recent reports suggest the Government is planning to use the new ERMA contracts to then initiate a rapid move to a new privatisation system modelled on the type of management contracts used on the London Overground. A recent RMT report entitled ‘Reanimating the Corpse” illustrates that this model of private ownership will mean profits and dividends will continue to flow out of UK Railways into the pockets of train operating companies and shareholders rather than be reinvested in our railways.
RMT is today renewing calls for the Government to end the 26 year long failed rail privatisation experiment whilst also warning the Government and the rail industry against any plans for these new contracts to usher in cuts and railway austerity that will hit workers and jeopardise the safety of workers and the travelling public.
Commenting on the Government’s announcement RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:
“This announcement should now force the government's hand and lead them to face up to what has been staring them in the face for the best part of three decades, that public ownership is the only model that works and can steer us through a crisis such as Covid-19. The Government must now ditch it's obession with the free-market and call to a halt any attempts to reanimate the corpse of rail privatisation.
"The money that would have been hoovered up in profits by the private rail companies should now be reinvested into our railways to ensure we have an affordable, accessible and resilient system fit to withstand other crises such as the extreme effects of climate change that is already having a serious impact on our railway infrastructure.
"COVID-19 has proved that the private rail companies are a waste of time and a waste of money and have no place in a railway that's fit for the future. It's time to cut out the middleman and the priority now has to be protecting services and the staff who run them and not private profits.”