RMT welcomes bid to return Scottish rail to public sector
RMT: May 31 2006
SCOTLAND’S BIGGEST rail union today welcomed the launch of a parliamentary bid to return the country’s passenger rail services to the public ‘not-for-profit’ sector.
As MSP Tommy Sheridan today launched a consultation on the proposed Provision of Passenger Services (Scotland) Bill, RMT general secretary Bob Crow said:
"RMT members and the vast majority of rail users alike will welcome this proposed Bill, which would return Scotland's rail services to the public sector, where they belong, and stop the massive haemmorhage of public money from the industry.
"The private sector gets three times the subsidy that British Rail got, but fares have risen way ahead of inflation and at least £15 million a week is siphoned out of the industry UK-wide by the privateers.
"This proposed Bill aims to plug that leak in Scotland, and not only reflects the views of the overwhelming majority of the Scottish public and the STUC, but also echoes the policy of Labour, the Greens and the SNP's 2003 manifesto.
"Removing the private sector from rail service provision will bring a huge 'rail rebate' to the industry, and it is to be hoped that progressive Scottish political opinion will unite to make the proposal a reality," Bob Crow said.
"By backing this Bill the Scottish parliament can show the rest of the UK the way," RMT Scotland regional organiser Phil McGarry said.
"Scotland has the right to expect that that every penny invested in its railways is spent on improving them, not siphoned off for the benefit of a few shareholders - and now we have the chance to make it so.
"There is more than ample evidence that a publicly run railway is a more efficient railway. Bringing rail maintenance back in-house is already showing huge benefits.
"The rail industry, its workforce and its passengers have been held to ransom for too long, and this proposed Bill will signal an end to it," Phil McGarry said.
Notes to editors:
The proposed Provision of Passenger Services (Scotland) Bill, due to be lodged in the Scottish parliament by Tommy Sheridan MSP today, would direct Scottish ministers to use their powers under the Railways Act 2005 to arrange for rail passenger services to be provided directly by the public sector or by a specifically created company on a not-for-profit basis when the current Scotrail franchise expires in 2011
The consultation on the proposed Bill ends on August 31 2006. The consultation document can be found on the Bills page of the Parliament's website at http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/business/bills/membersBills.htm, and in SPICe
Responses to the consultation should be sent to Phil McGarry, RMT Regional Organiser, 180 Hope Street, Glasgow, G2 2UE or p.mcgarry@ rmt.org.uk. A copy sent to email@example.com would also be appreciated