15 August 2014
RMT Press Office
The Government have admitted in a leaflet, which transport union RMT believes has been withdrawn from public circulation, that the core of their plan for rail services in the North involves service cuts, increased fares, the closure of ticket offices and the axing of staff.
RMT has obtained one copy of what it believes was supposed originally to be a public information leaflet on the future of the Northern and Trans-Pennine Express as part of the consultation that closes on Monday.
The leaflet confirms that the Government, and their front-organisation Rail North, intend to:
• Reduce Northern services…..
• Increase fares…..
• Reduce the hours during which ticket offices are open and staffed…..
• Reducing the number of calls at “low-use” stations….
• “Adjusting” the time of the first/last train…
These are all direct quotes from the bullet points in the leaflet that has been sent to RMT. The latest bombshell information comes as the union steps its fight against the Northern and TP carve up. RMT will deliver nearly ten thousand post cards to the Department of Transport on Monday 18th August as the consultation on the future plans for the Northern and Trans-Pennine Express franchises comes to a close.
The post cards have been collected from angry members of the public at nearly fifty events organised by RMT across the region during the consultation period. The Government, and their front organisation Rail North, have organised a pitiful five “listening” events across the vast area affected without a single event in Cumbria which is hard-hit by the plans. RMT is demanding to know how many responses the shadowy and low-profile “official” consultation has managed to generate.
RMT has already exposed the fact that cheaper, off-peak fares are being axed before the consultation period has come to a close. Under the new arrangements, which have been confirmed to unions and staff this week, from the 8th September off-peak tickets can no longer be used during key times on weekday evenings.
RMT Acting General Secretary Mick Cash said:
“It is disgraceful that plans that will whack up fares, axe jobs and services and reduce both the Northern and Trans-Pennine franchises to an unsafe, money-making racket, are being bulldozed through under cover of a wholly bogus consultation. If RMT officials and activists hadn’t organised almost fifty events, and a major press campaign, the vast majority of people would have known nothing of this huge rail carve-up. It is extraordinary that we have only come across one copy of the supposed Government information leaflet confirming RMT’s view that the consultation, and the key issues behind it, has been deliberately suppressed by the DfT and Rail North.
“We have said all along that the core of the Government’s future plan for Northern and TPE is to axe jobs, throw the guards off the trains and jack up fares while capacity to meet surging rail demand in the area is left to stagnate. That attack on the fare-paying public has already begun and the delivery of nearly ten thousand cards protesting against the plans on Monday is only the start of the RMT-organised fightback.”