RAIL UNION RMT today called for urgent talks with the public sector rescue team drafted in by the Government to prevent a total collapse of the West Coast Main Line as the TUPE transfer of 3200 staff to a new operator, scheduled for the end of the current franchise on the 9th December, has been thrown into disarray by the current Virgin legal challenge.
The public sector team, called the West Coast Main Line Mobilisation Team, has been drawn from the already nationalised East Cost route. The confirmation that they are now in place and ready to take over staffing, finance and operations as Virgin and First slug it out in the courts contradicts earlier Department of Transport denials when RMT first blew the whistle on the renationalisation plan last week. However, the WCMLMT have still had no direct contact with the union despite the fact that the clock is ticking and the knowledge that there are legal obligations to the current staff that must be complied with.
RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said:
“The Government seems to be terrified of admitting that they will once again be wholly dependent on the public sector to rescue them from the continuing chaos on the prestigious West Coast Main Line. They have assembled a mobilisation team from the East Coast DOR and yet, with only weeks to go, and with clearly defined legal obligations to the 3200 staff involved, they are dragging their heels on meeting with RMT to sort out a plan for renationalisation.
“Today RMT is calling for urgent and direct talks with the West Coast Main Line Mobilisation Team to move this urgent situation forwards. RMT is also making it clear that we will take whatever action is required to protect the legally acquired rights of our members and we also remain geared up for a ballot if there is any threat to jobs.
“This whole wasteful, costly and shambolic farce has to stop now. If the public sector is the only show in town when things collapse into chaos then they should now be allowed to get on with the job on a permanent basis on both the East and West Coast and end this madness.
“It is little wonder that 70% of the public now support RMT’s call for renationalisation of the railways in the wake of the West Coast debacle.”