Huge First Group profits an obscenity, says RMT
RMT: November 5 2008
FIRST GROUP and its shareholders are profiteering at the expense of passengers and transport workers, the industry’s specialist trade union said today as the group published its half-year figures.
As continued growth in revenue and profits from its UK rail and bus divisions helped fuel a massive increase in First Group’s surplus and a £55 million dividend bonanza, RMT renewed its call for an end to the haemorrhaging of cash from public transport.
“First Group is leeching obscene profits from public transport on the back of overcrowding and massive fares hikes and the huge job of work our members do keeping the networks running,” RMT general secretary Bob Crow said today.
“First bosses have the nerve to say they are creating value for their shareholders, but every penny they drain out is money that should be spent on improving and expanding our rail and bus networks.
“Like every other privateer First cares only about how much it can squeeze out while it still can.
“And that squeeze will only get worse if the group is to continue satisfying its shareholders and cough up the huge premiums the treasury expects from its rail franchises.
“The group has added insult to injury by handing shareholders an inflation-busting interim dividend increase of more than double the average pay increase of the people who actually get out there and do the work.
“I have no doubt that our members will remember that when the time comes to formulate the next round of pay claims.
“The time has come to bring transport operations back into the public sector where they can be run for the benefit of all,” Bob Crow said.