30 January 2019
RMT Press Office:
Another £300 million added to the great rail rip-off
New Office of Road and Rail figures published today reveal that train operators paid themselves another £300 million in dividends last year, money that could have instead been used to fund the retention and expansion of staffing levels on trains and platforms at a time when violent and anti-social behaviour on the railway is soaring out of control. A the same the train operators returned to the government £300 million less than in previous years.
The key points of today’s ORR report are:
• In 2017-18, the Government received £400 million from train operators. This is £300 million less than the previous year. Coincidentally, the declared dividends paid by train operators into the pockets of their shareholders was also £300 million.
• Dividends have increased by 6.5% compared to five years ago.
• RMT welcomes the acknowledgement by ORR that "Over the last five years, dividends have remained equivalent to around 2.5% of passenger fares" which is substantially higher than the 2% claimed by the Rail Delivery Group.
RMT general secretary Mick Cash said:
“The hard truth is that another £300 million that could have been invested in guaranteeing safe staffing levels and improving services has been siphoned out of the railway in dividends by the greedy private train operators while they have slashed their returns to the public purse by the same amount.
“This racket needs to end and our railways returned to public ownership with all of the cash generated re-invested in services and bringing fares back to an affordable level.”