RMT slams Great British Railways as a ‘tawdry vehicle for private looting’

RMT slams Great British Railways as a ‘tawdry vehicle for private looting’

25 March 2022

RMT Press Office

RMT slams Great British Railways as a ‘tawdry vehicle for private looting’ as Govia rewarded for breaching financial good faith with yet another contract

RAIL UNION RMT said today that Great British Railways was becoming a sick joke as it was confirmed Go-Ahead Group’s Govia would be awarded a three year contract to run the Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern franchise in spite of being accused of breaching financial good faith by concealing money due to the public and minimising the risk of detection by the DfT.


RMT General Secretary Mick Lynch said,


“What does a company have to do to not get a contract on Grant Shapps’s Great British Railways? The Transport Secretary has stripped Go-Ahead Group of a contract, made them repay money they owe, fined them and then granted them another one.


“Mr Shapps has done this having been reassured that Go-Ahead are safe with public money on the strength of a report conducted by the same people who ripped off the public in the first place and who then marked their own work in the knowledge that they stand to make around £80 million in guaranteed profits from this contract.


“The whole process has been compromised from the start and cloaked in secrecy and it makes it abundantly clear that Great British Railways is nothing more than a tawdry vehicle for private looting. This was a totally unnecessary decision, driven by an ideological fixation with greed and profit because the Operator of Last Resort, which picked up the wreckage of Govia’ Southeastern franchise, was ready and waiting to take over and run it in the public sector.”




Notes to editors:

  1. The DfT permitted Go-Ahead to conduct its own investigation into its conduct. This review was described as being Independent but RMT described it as ‘fatally compromised’ because it was headed up by people who are Chairs of the owning groups responsible, including in Go-Ahead’s case a salaried employee and in Keolis’s case a shareholder. In essence the Go-Ahead Group has been able to mark its own work. Southeastern investigation fatally compromised - rmt
  2. This is doubly problematic because as the DfT has confirmed, the process was entangled with the decision over whether they should be allowed to operate a Passenger Rail Contract on the biggest franchise in the country. Go-Ahead Group had every incentive to clear themselves.
  3. The DfT further eroded confidence in this process by refusing to disclose the contents or findings of the report. Go-Ahead reported to investors that they submitted their report to the DfT on 9 December, which means the DfT had had it for almost four months but no one else has seen it.
  4. The DfT themselves confirmed that Go-Ahead and LSER were aware that they owed money to the public but did not declare it and “were continuing to minimise the risk of detection by the Department.”

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Tagged with: Govia, Great British Railways