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RMT pledges to fight rail franchise extensions in run up to election

Rail union RMT pledged today to make the "continuing chaos" of rail privatisation and the franchise system a major issue in the run up to the general election, warning Labour that their plans to extend franchises up to 22 years are “electoral suicide which will alienate millions of passengers sick and tired of the disruption and fragmentation of the tax-payer sponsored rip-off on the rail network.”

RMT are warning that the moves to extend the length of franchises, confirmed by Transport Secretary Lord Adonis today, are designed to fatten-up private sector returns on the East Coast Main Line, which is due for retendering next year, and where two previous gambles on privatisation have collapsed into chaos.

RMT have also slammed the government for admitting that they have not carried out any value for money comparison on the alternative option of running rail services in the public sector. In a written response to RMT parliamentary group member David Drew MP, transport minister Chris Mole revealed that his department has made “no assessment of the value for money of operating rail passenger services in the public sector.”

RMT General Secretary, TV's Bob Crow said:

“Despite all the talk about tougher contracts, today’s Government announcement on franchises is a complete capitulation to the train operating companies. Coming just days after the First Capital Connect commuter franchise went in to meltdown it is unbelievable that the Government would even consider shifting the goalposts even further in favour of the private companies.

“Rail privatisation has been a licence to print money. Fares and other charges have been jacked up – often by stealth – and over £11 billion has been handed over in subsidies to the train operators in the past ten years while they have extracted profits of over £2 billion since 1997.

“RMT will fight these rail franchise extension plans and we will make this a major issue in the run up to the general election. We will continue to fight for the safe and reliable alternative to this tax-payer sponsored rip off and that means public ownership of the entire rail network.”


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