4 August 2014
RMT Press Office
RMT continues fight over threat to jobs and services on Northern and Trans-Pennine Express as consultation closes in two weeks. Cuts plans condemned as the “Beeching of the North.”
RAIL UNION RMT has continued its campaign today over the threat to jobs, services and safety arising out of the bogus and rushed consultation on the future of the Northern and Trans Pennine, being conducted by the Department of Transport, which is due to end on the 18th of August. The proposals have been condemned as the “Beeching of the North” by unions and campaigners – Dr Beeching was responsible for the report in the 1960’s that led to savage cuts and closures on Britain’s railways.
RMT’s campaign against the plans has activated a much broader and wider consultation on the damaging proposals than the Government’s and the shadowy “Rail North” with major events already held in every corner of the area facing transport carnage from the proposals. The latest phase kicked off this morning with protests at Carlisle and Poulton Le Fylde with a schedule of events across the region taking the campaign up to the end of the consultation period:
KIRKHAM - TUESDAY 5th August 2014 - 7am - 9am - meet outside Kirkham Station
SCARBOROUGH - TUESDAY 5th August 2014 - 6.30am - meet outside Scarborough Station.
LANCASTER - TUESDAY 5th August 2014 - meet outside Lancaster Station 4pm - 6pm
PRESTON - THURSDAY 7th August 2014 - 7am - 9am - meet outside Preston Railway Station - Butler Street, Entrance.
BLACKPOOL NORTH - FRIDAY 8th August 2014 - 7am - 9am - meet outside Blackpool North Station
SALFORD CENTRAL - FRIDAY 8th August 2014 - 7am - 9.30am - meet outside Salford Central Railway Station
LIVERPOOL LIME STREET - FRIDAY 8th August 2014 - 7.30am - 9.30am - meet outside Liverpool Lime Street Station
MANCHESTER VICTORIA - FRIDAY 8th August 2014 - 4pm - 6pm - meet outside Manchester Victoria Station
SHEFFIELD - FRIDAY 8th August 2014 - 4pm - 6pm Meet outside Sheffield Station
WORKINGTON - FRIDAY 8th August 2014 - 3.30pm -5pm Meet outside Workington Station
GRANGE-OVER-SANDS - FRIDAY 8th August 2014 - 9am 11.30am - meet outside Grange-Over-Sands Railway Station
HULL - SATURDAY 9th August 2014 -11am - 1pm - meet outside Hull Railway Station
BLACKBURN - SATURDAY 9th August 2014 - 11am - 1pm - meet outside Blackburn Railway Station
SUNDERLAND - WEDNESDAY 13th August 2014 - 11am - 2pm - meet Outside Sunderland Station (Station Taxi Rank Entrance)
HARTLEPOOL - THURSDAY 14th August 2014 - MIDDLETON GRANGE SHOPPING CENTRE - 12pm - 3pm
MIDDLESBROUGH - FRIDAY 15th August 2014 - Meet at 12pm - 3pm meet at Middlesbrough Station - Zetland Road Car Park Entrance
RMT has listed a catalogue of issues that the union is mobilising the industrial, political and public campaign around;
- Driver Only Operation to be introduced on the Northern franchise
- Driver Only Operation to be left at the discretion of the franchisee on the TPE
- Reducing ticket office opening times
- Cuts to “back room and support functions” staff
- Possible “alliancing” between franchisees and Network Rail
- Encouraging “local delivery models” and community rail (especially in the North East of Northern franchise)
- Increasing fares
- Promoting third party funding of services
RMT has raised deep concerns that the entire consultation is not only flawed but is wholly bogus as it emerged in written answers to parliamentary questions that “Rail North”, a group of local authorities supposed to be conducting the consultation with the Department for Transport, in fact have no control over the process with all decisions taken by the Government and its senior officials.
RMT Acting General Secretary Mick Cash said:
“As the bogus and rushed Government consultation on the Northern and Trans-Pennine franchise carve-up draws to a close RMT continues to pull in massive public support for our campaign to stop the plans and we will be ratcheting up our activities in the fortnight. The response we are getting from the public has been total supportive, people know what’s at stake.
“These plans amount to nothing less than the “Beeching of the North” – wrecking and closing essential rail services without any regard for the impact on the communities that we serve.
“Not only has RMT exposed the fact that the consultation on Northern and Trans Pennine Express is being rushed through but we also now know that the entire process, and its outcomes, is under the complete control of the Transport Secretary Stephen Hammond making a nonsense of the illusion that there is any local accountability.
“Let’s not forget that the core of these plans 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. RMT is stepping up the fight to both inform the public and fight the savage cuts being lined up for these Northern rail franchises. We have been getting fantastic support, thousands of post cards have been distributed and the political and public pressure is growing across the region.”