South Western could be paid to not run trains

South Western could be paid to not run trains

27 July 2018

RMT Press Office:

Parliamentary questions reveal taxpayers could pay South Western Railway not to run trains during RMT strike action.

Questions tabled by MPs have revealed that the taxpayer, via the government, is set to pay South Western trains not to run trains during current strike action by RMT. 

The shocking revelation com‎es as RMT members prepare for the next 24 hours of strike action from midnight tonight in the fight for safe, secure and accessible services across South Western Railway.

In response to a written question this week rail minister Joe Johnson was forced to confirm that South Western Railway has exploited a clause in its franchise agreement and applied to the government to be reimbursed for revenue loss as a result of industrial action.

The rail minister had previously sought to cover up this shocking admission saying “this was commercial matter between South Western Railway and the Secretary of State” but relented under further questioning from MPs.

The admission by the Rail Minister also shows that instead of doing all it can to protect passengers and resolve the dispute the government is instead preparing to bankroll the company and prolong the dispute and disruption to passengers.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said:

“We already knew that South Western Railway were in financial crisis. Passengers and taxpayers will now be appalled to learn that Ministers are preparing to pay South Western Railway to not to run trains during strike days.

“The fact that the rail minister originally sought to withhold this information and then slipped it out after MPs have broken up for the summer recess underlines that they know the public will be furious at this outrage.

“These parliamentary answers also reveal that instead of assisting to resolving this dispute by keeping guards on South Western Railway the government is planning to bankroll the company with the promise that the tax payer will cough up for any revenues the company lose as a result of industrial action.

“What is even more galling is that as South Western are part owned by the Chinese state, taxpayers’ money will be going to improve railways in China while railways in the UK are disrupted and passengers used as pawns in the government plan to destaff our railways.”

Ends.

Notes for editors

Q
Asked by Laura Smith
(Crewe and Nantwich)
Asked on: 20 July 2018
Department for Transport
South Western Railway: Compensation
166508
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 28 June 2018 to Question 155260 on rail strikes, whether South Western Railway has made an application in the last 12 months to reimburse the company for revenues lost as a result of official industrial action.
A
Answered by: Joseph Johnson
Answered on: 25 July 2018
South Western Railway has made an application with regards to industrial action.
Q
Asked by Kate Hoey
(Vauxhall)
[N]
Asked on: 18 June 2018
Department for Transport
South Western Railway: Compensation
154578
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to the Answer of 15 May 2003 to Question 113237 on rail strikes, whether South Western Railway has made an application in the last twelve months for reimbursement for revenues lost as a result of official industrial action.
A
Answered by: Joseph Johnson
Answered on: 21 June 2018
Any such request would be a commercial matter between South Western Railway and the Secretary of State. However, no payments have been made under the relevant Franchise Agreement provisions.

South Western Railway franchise agreement - reimbursement of revenue lost as a result of industrial action
Clause 5 of Schedule 8.1 of the franchise agreement states
“Industrial Action: The Secretary of State, in his discretion, may at any time decide to reimburse or ameliorate net losses of the Franchisee arising from Industrial Action (however caused and of whatever nature) in circumstances where the Franchisee has demonstrated to the satisfaction of the Secretary of State that it has taken all reasonable steps to avoid the Industrial Action and that, Industrial Action having nevertheless occurred, the Franchisee has taken all reasonable steps to mitigate its effects.”

 

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