Monday, 25 March 2013

Rail Union RMT warns of “Beeching Two” as Wednesday marks fiftieth anniversary of the biggest single act of rail vandalism

This Wednesday, 27th March 2013, marks the 50th anniversary of the publication of the infamous Beeching report which led to the decimation of much of the UK’s railways. Unions and campaigners, under the Action for Rail banner, will be out at railway stations up and down the country ramping up the campaign to defend rail services and to renationalise the entire network.

Rail union RMT is warning that rail services are again under threat from what amounts to “Beeching Two” as the government, Network Rail and train operators seek to make massive staff cuts against a backdrop of private profiteering, huge fare increases and unprecedented demand.

'Beeching Two'

The McNulty Rail Review proposals, adopted by the Government and branded by RMT as “Beeching Two”, would:
· Attack pay, jobs and conditions, casualising work that has been repeatedly shown as essential to public and staff safety.
· Introduce DOO (driver only operation) throughout the system, throwing the guards, and their safety-critical role, off Britain’s trains.
· Closure of signal boxes and reductions in maintenance and renewals staff with associated cuts to maintenance schedules.
· Huge reductions in platform and other station staff – creating the criminals’ paradise of a “faceless” and de-staffed railway.
· Closures and reduction of hours at over 50% of currently staffed ticket offices

RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said:
“On the fiftieth anniversary of Beeching, RMT renews the call for a massive expansion of rail capacity, under public ownership, to meet the surge in demand that we know is going to be thrown at services over the coming years, services that are already creaking at the seams. We are still paying today for the reckless axing of rail services during the Beeching era.

“Today we face the threat of Beeching 2, the governments McNulty Rail Review, which again puts savage cuts centre stage. 

Butchery of rail services

“Beeching got it badly wrong half a century ago on the future of rail as a popular mode of travel. His butchery of rail services has been matched by more recent generations of politicians in the fragmentation and exploitation of privatisation. Now is the time to right the wrongs of the past and put an expanded, integrated and publicly owned railway at the heart of future transport policy.

"We are calling on the public to join the RMT backed Action for Rail campaign to let the government, Network Rail and train operators know that RMT members demand a railway that puts people and passengers before profit."

Arriva Trains Wales cleaners on Churchill’s 
contract to strike in fight for living wage

RAIL UNION RMT confirmed that cleaners working on the Churchill’s contract on Arriva Trains Wales, some of the worst paid staff in the whole transport industry, will strike this week in a fight for pay and workplace justice.
Following a massive nine to one vote for action RMT members are instructed not to book on for any shifts that commence between:- 00:01 hours and 23:59 hours on Wednesday 27th March 2013

Following the announcement of strike action on Saturday 16th March, the company did come forward with an improved offer and the planned action was suspended to allow due consideration. However, after close scrutiny it has been found that the offer does not meet RMT’s core objective of eliminating the scourge of poverty pay and as a result the union has had no option but to declare a further 24 hour strike.

RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said:
“Despite the best efforts of RMT negotiators, and following massive pressure from our campaign on this issue and some significant movement, the union has been unable to extract an offer from Churchill’s that secures our core objective of eliminating the scourge of poverty pay on the Arriva Trains Wales contract and as a result strike action is back on.
“Churchill’s, working for Arriva Trains Wales with the train operators approval, has doubled its profits in the past five years and has extracted nearly £7 million from the exploitation of essential cleaning staff on the most basic pay and conditions.
“While the company is trying to enshrine poverty pay amongst the staff who deliver vast returns for the shareholders, its own highest paid director has had a salary increase of more than 18% in the last 5 years to nearly £160,000 making a nonsense of their claims that they can’t afford a decent offer to the front-line cleaning staff.
“ This battle on Arriva Trains Wales is now seen as having national significance in the campaign against low pay and exploitation by greedy companies and RMT will continue to ratchet up the pressure for fairness for this important group of Welsh transport staff as part of our national cleaners’ campaign. ATW, as the host operator, will not be allowed to wash their hands of this exploitation on their watch either.
“RMT has confirmed talks for early this week in advance of the action on Wednesday and it is now down to the company to come forward with an offer that can end this dispute.”

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