Tuesday, 16 July 2013

RMT confirms protest at Kings Cross, Doncaster, Leeds, Wakefield, Newcastle, Berwick, Edinburgh Waverley this Thursday in fight to keep East Coast in public hands

RMT confirms protest at Kings Cross, Doncaster, Leeds, Wakefield, Newcastle, Berwick, Edinburgh Waverley this Thursday in fight to keep East Coast in public hands

RAIL UNION RMT said today that it will be holding protests between 8am and 9am this Thursday (18th July) the length of the East Coast Mainline as the fight to keep the route in public hands steps up a gear.

In 2009 National Express handed back the franchise for the East Coast Mainline (ECML) to the government, abandoning the contract in a disgraceful negation of their operator’s responsibility, causing huge uncertainty and disruption. It was the second private sector failure on key the key route, following the earlier collapse of GNER.
Since National Express threw the keys back, public ownership (in the form of Directly Operated Railways Ltd) has provided an improved service and vastly more revenue for the Treasury.

In fact, according to answers to questions tabled by the RMT Parliamentary Group, Directly Operated Railways Ltd has (since November 2009) paid £602m in premium payments. This is £232m more than National Express paid back during its tenure and over £209m more than the amount paid in by Virgin/Stagecoach on the West Coast Mainline since 2009-10.

And ECML in the public sector is virtually subsidy free. Public subsidy accounted for only 1.2% of ECML’s total income in 2011-12, compared to an average of 32.1% of the income of the private train operating companies on the 15 other passenger rail franchises.

Despite this, the Conservative-led government is ideologically wedded to returning ECML to the private sector and are preparing to bulldoze through a re-privatisation of the line before the next election, with a third expensive and reckless gamble at the tax payers expense.

As part of the fight to stop the Government plans, on Thursday 18th July RMT is holding a Day of Action to press for East Coast to be kept in the public sector. Between 8 and 9am there will be demos and leafleting at Kings Cross, Doncaster; Leeds, Wakefield, Newcastle, Berwick, Edinburgh Waverley

RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said:
“The truth is that out of pure ideology, this government is prepared to take a third gamble on their big-business friends in a desperate bid to privatise the East Coast Mainline before the election, even though they are well aware that the whole reckless exercise will cost the British public hundreds of millions of pounds in lost income.
“RMT’s research shows that the money currently being reinvested by publicly-owned DOR will go straight into the back pockets of whatever bunch of chancers are given the chance to plunder the East Coast after the previous two private collapses left the public sector to pick up the pieces.

On Thursday we will take our case to the East Coast passengers and RMT will continue to fight not only to keep the East Coast in public ownership but to renationalise the entire network, ending the great rail rip-off once and for all.”


acknowledgements to Ken Montague

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