Posted 26th November 2020 | 6 Comments

RMT claims Eurostar is ‘staring into the abyss’

THE RMT ‎has called on the government to provide urgent financial support for Eurostar, warning that a failure to act threatens the future of the service and the thousands of jobs that it supports.

The union said that in a recent round-table meeting with the rail minister both the company and the union requested direct financial support for Britain's international rail service, which currently receives no taxpayer subsidies, without success. It added that the failure to provide help left Eurostar ‘staring into the abyss’. 

General secretary Mick Cash said: ‘RMT is calling on the government to step in immediately to give lifeline financial support for the important international infrastructure role fulfilled by Eurostar and the thousands of jobs supported both directly and indirectly by the service.

‘‎It is wholly wrong that Eurostar, an eco-friendly service that is a beacon for the future of our railways, is being denied the kind of financial support being offered to the airports. The current inaction leaves the service hanging by a thread and all we are asking for is the support needed to maintain viability and stability as we move out of this phase of lockdown and look forward to the future.’

The Department for Transport responded: ‘We recognise the significant financial challenges facing Eurostar as a result of Covid-19 and the unprecedented circumstances currently faced by the international travel industry.

‘The Government has been engaging extensively with Eurostar on a regular basis since the beginning of the outbreak, including through the Global Travel Taskforce. We will continue to work closely with them as we support the safe recovery of international travel.’

Reader Comments:

Views expressed in submitted comments are that of the author, and not necessarily shared by Railnews.

  • king arthur, Buckley

    This situation is hardly unique in 2020. Many thousands of businesses as well as entire industries are all on the brink. There will be a lot of pain in 2021, 2022 and beyond, and I fully expect the cure will be far worse than the disease.

  • John B, London

    I'm sorry for the jobs which would be lost, but I wouldn't shed a tear for Eurostar. Would it be so radical to restrict it to freight with passengers going back to the ferries/planes?

  • Neil Palmer, Waterloo

    I suppose it's all in how you look at it. Deeming it a problem solely for the French is reminiscent of the supposed 1940s headline "Fog in Channel; Continent Cut Off".

  • Jez Milton, Manchester

    Any direct financial help to international rail services would immediately have (polluting) airlines crying "foul" and rushing to the courts...

  • Tony Pearce, Reading

    The whole Rail and Travel Industry is staring into the Abyss at the moment, not just Eurostar.

  • Ian Walker, Preston

    Surely Eurostar is majority owned by the French government (SNCF) and thus requests for support should be directed to them?