Rail union calls for end to service cuts by private operators

Bob Crow makes a good case for public ownership if the privateers start making swingeing cuts, will Hoon listen? (A rhetorical question, obviously!)

Private operators must be told ‘no rail service cuts’, says RMT

Publication Date: January 19 2009

PRIVATE TRAIN operators that have made hundreds of millions in profits at the public’s expense must not be allowed to cut services and jobs simply to keep their profits up, Britain’s biggest rail union says today.

RMT has urged Transport Secretary Geoff Hoon to give a resounding ‘no’ to expected attempts by the ‘big five’ rail operators tomorrow to win permission to operate fewer services than specified in their franchise agreements.

The union points out that rising revenues and rail profits made by the big five have fuelled rises in group dividends of between ten and 33 per cent (see attached analysis).

“If ever there was a case of greedy privateers wanting to have their cake and eat it this is it,” RMT general secretary Bob Crow said.

“The big five monopoly operators have been minting it at the public’s expense for more than a decade, handing over tens of millions of pounds in dividends to shareholders on the back of public subsidy, overcrowding and massive fares hikes

“Revenues, profits and dividends have been rising steadily, but at the first hint of a slowdown they want to slash services and sack staff when that is the reverse of what the economy and environment need.

“We already have operators threatening to sack staff and undermine the quality of service they offer by removing catering facilities and other front-line and service staff, and RMT will resist them with all the means at our disposal.

“Now we have the same privateers seeking to add to the downward spiral, and it is quite clear that they care nothing about the health of the economy, the environment or the services they are supposed to provide and everything about their shareholders’ bank accounts.

“We need a growing rail network that encourages people to travel by train through attractive fares, not least in these hard economic times

“If these parasites aren’t willing to run the level of services specified in their franchises they should hand back the keys and allow them to be run in the public sector where they belong,” Bob Crow said.


Note to editors: Attached is an analysis of the big five’s profits and fare increases