Posted 20th May 2021 | 2 Comments

REVIEW: RMT says opportunity has been missed

THE general secretary of the RMT Mick Lynch said: ‘This is a missed opportunity by the Government to make a clean break from the failures of the past that have left Britain's railways in the slow lane.

‘The Government talk about ending a generation of fragmentation but then leave the same private companies in place under this arrangement to extract management fees that could be invested in to building a truly integrated national rail network. The taxpayer carries all the risk while the train companies carry out bags of cash.

‘If the Government were serious about recognising ‎the impact of failed rail policy down nearly three decades they would cut out the middleman, strip away the dead weight of the private companies and work with their staff on building a transport system fit for the future where investment in the workforce and infrastructure comes first.

‘It's important ministers and members of this new Great British Railways’ board‎ understand that you don't build for a bright future by threatening staff with job cuts and attacks on pay and pensions.

‘Our chief priority is to defend our members and if the industry chooses the road to confrontation they will meet the stiffest industrial resistance from this trade union.’

(This is one of a series of reports about the Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail.)

Reader Comments:

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  • david c smith, Bletchley

    Nationalisation or Privatisation ?Top down Command and Control or dispersed management within a market framework?

    A lot of commentstors have been critical of the latter of these and wish for a more quasi military "coordination". Yet probably the most succesful point in the history of BR was after the instituting of Sectorisation, which gave each activity a more defined goal. The point here is that whether the railway is publically or privately run, there is need for a structure involving communication between people.Maybe in our current IT dominated economy,a more "dispersed" structure will work best ?

    Maybe it is time for a part privatised railway ( freight, intercity, leaseco's) , with infrastructure and local / commuter in the public sector ?

  • Neil Palmer, Waterloo

    Mick: Whether a manager in a private TOC (now all with years of experience in day to day rail operations) is getting paid, or you pay some civil servant (will probably no experience) to do the same job, you're still paying someone to manage day to day operations. There's no magic pot of money to redirect elsewhere. Rail services don't just manage themselves. If you think doing all the work to manage staff/trains/schedules etc. for a mere 1.5% to 2% return (when you could simply earn as much by investing your money and sitting back doing nothing) is carrying out bags of cash, then might I suggest taking a course in economics?
    As for cuts or pay freezes in pay or pensions, everyone is going to have to share in some pain to pay for the enormous cost of this pandemic, and the railways are no exception (especially given the billions it has cost to keep them afloat, and your members fully employed). Don't forget with many who still still choose to work from home your power to cause mass disruption by calling strikes is greatly reduced. That's not even mentioning the lack of public support for strikes that you will get from the general public (many of whom have lost family members and jobs) and will have no time for your argument that your members are special and deserve better treatment than the rest.