Bring GNER back in-house to save jobs and rail services, says RMT
RMT: August 21, 2006
EAST-COAST mainline franchise GNER should be brought back under public control immediately to stop jobs and rail services falling victim to the financial crisis engulfing its Bermuda-registered parent company, the industry’s biggest union says today.
The call was made by RMT as speculation grew that SeaContainers’ desperate attempts to squeeze a profit from GNER’s rail operations would mean further sharp fares hikes, service cuts and a wholesale attack on jobs and conditions.
“The number-one priority is to ensure that our members’ jobs and the services they provide do not fall victim to SeaContainers’ deepening financial crisis,” RMT general secretary Bob Crow said today.
“We warned when the new GNER franchise was let that the enormous price-tag raised the threat of service cuts, massive fares rises and a squeeze on jobs and conditions, and it gives no pleasure to be proved right.
“SeaContainers were only ever interested in this franchise to wring as much money out of it as possible, but their current financial crisis makes matters even worse and it is absolute madness to allow a supposedly profitable franchise to be butchered.
“GNER’s passengers have already had to endure a massive 8.8 per cent hike in unregulated fares this year, but now the company plans to slash ticket-office staff by 50 per cent and to impose similar staff cuts across the board.
“RMT will resist with every means at our disposal job cuts that are aimed solely at squeezing profits to satisfy SeaContainers’ debtors and shareholders.
“We hope that passengers will also resist the attacks on their services and support the only sensible course, which is to bring the franchise back into the public sector, and keep it there,” Bob Crow said