22 January 2020
RMT Press Office:
RAIL UNION RMT today slammed the government for its total cop out and continuing failure to face reality and bring South Western Railway back into public ownership
The union was reacting to Transport Secretary Grant Shapps’s statement this morning that SWR was not ‘not sustainable in the long term’ but that rather than taking the obvious step and bringing in the public sector operator he’d asked the failing private franchise owners to submit a proposal for another contract.
Mr Shapps also sought to blame railway workers taking strike action in defence of safety for the failures of the private companies. The government committed itself to pushing Driver Only Operation, which has been attacked by disability groups as a barrier to accessibility, and attacking civil liberties by forcing workers to run services during strikes.
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:
“This government is acting like a puppet for the rail companies, throwing good public money after bad and trying to breathe life into the rotting corpse of privatised rail.
“Instead of dreaming up new ways to subsidise private sector profits by attacking civil liberties, he should stop pushing cost-cutting driver only operation and bring SWR into public ownership, running it in the interests of passengers and workers not his mates in the City.”