RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said:
“The inefficiencies of the UK rail system are entirely bound up with the fragmentation and profiteering of privatisation. The McNulty report tacitly accepts that but does nothing to address the issue”
A graphic example is First Group bailing out of the Great Western franchise three years early, depriving the taxpayer of £826 million in premium payments while soaking up £140 million in government subsidy at the same time. Deal with that kind of scandal and the Government could claw back their £1 billion savings target at a stroke.
Rail services are 30% more expensive in the UK as against comparable European operations for one, simple reason – privatisation. It’s the greed, exploitation and restrictive practices of the train operators that have led us to this situation and we will fight any attempt to shift the blame onto hardworking staff trying to provide quality services against a backdrop of increasing demand and front-line cuts.
It’s a gross waste of time and money that Network Rail has 600 lawyers on the books doing nothing other than negotiating with the train operators on who is responsible for delays and arguing the toss between them for assorted service failures. Public ownership of an integrated rail service would put an end to that nonsense.
RMT has said all along that sacking staff, closing ticket offices and jacking up fares, while the train operators are handed gold-plated franchises, is just an escalation of all the worst practices of privatisation and if that is the outcome of this process it will be resisted by rail unions and the travelling public alike.”