21 May 2014
RMT Press Office
RMT steps up fight against massive job cuts on London Midland as company nears the billion pound mark in public subsidies
RAIL UNION RMT today stepped up the fight to halt savage job cuts at London Midland which would axe 150 key posts and decimate gateline staffing numbers, warning that unless talks this week reach a solution the union will look to begin the process for a ballot for industrial action.
RMT has exposed the false-economy of the planned job cuts with the companies own figures suggesting one in five people in the region were travelling without a ticket with many more expected to dodge their fares if ticket inspectors are wiped out. One inspector on the Cannock line collected more than £200,000 in one year in fines – money that would pay for the post many times over and money that would lost if London Midland’s ill-conceived plans are implemented.
In a cynical attempt to mislead the public London Midland have tried to claim that the changes will not affect “frontline” staff – a claim that RMT has repeatedly demolished as a total pack of lies as the cuts would rip the revenue, gateline and ticketing staffing levels to shreds. Axing the jobs of the very staff who save the company a fortune in lost revenue.
The company continue to offer no meaningful explanation for their cuts proposals leaving the union to conclude that they are solely about implementation of the Government’s McNulty Rail Review - hacking back staff, quality of service and safety in the interests of private profit. Clearly, with the massive loss of revenue that would follow the proposed job cuts, London Midland are expecting the Government and the tax payer to bail them out and plug any gaps.
Any further taxpayer bailouts would come on top of nearly £1 billion in corporate welfare sucked in by London Midland in the past six years – over £450 million in subsidies on its operations and a further £550 million in track access grants in the past four years alone, while paying a pittance in corporation tax.
RMT Acting General Secretary Mick Cash said:
“The sheer stupidity of these cuts is borne out by the fact that one London Midland ticket inspector alone saved nearly a quarter of a million pounds in lost revenue by being there and doing the job. This is the most ludicrous false economy as these workers pay for themselves many times over. We can only assume that London Midland want to save the cash, boost their profits and then expect the taxpayer to plug the revenue gaps yet again while they already have the best part of a billion pounds in corporate welfare sloshing around the boardroom.
“The cynical attempt to claim that the 150 jobs threatened are not important is a kick in the teeth for staff who make London Midland tick – the plans have generated a wave of anger across all grades since they were announced in March and we are rapidly losing patience as the company drags its heels in the talks.
“We have further talks this week but the company should be under no illusions. If they don’t lift the gun from our members’ heads, and get proper and meaningful negotiations back on track, we will take a report to the Executive recommending a ballot for action.”