Unions slam South Western Railway franchise fiasco

Rail unions have criticised the government after the Department for Transport yesterday admitted South Western Railway’s franchise was not sustainable in the long-term – but refused to take it back into public hands

Instead Transport Secretary Grant Shapps blamed striking RMT members for disrupting the service, and said he would give the failing franchise another chance.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “This government is acting like a puppet for the rail companies, throwing good public money after bad and trying to breathe life into the rotting corpse of privatised rail.

“Instead of dreaming up new ways to subsidise private sector profits by attacking civil liberties, he should stop pushing cost-cutting driver only operation and bring SWR into public ownership, running it in the interests of passengers and workers not his mates in the City.”

TSSA general secretary Manuel Cortes said: “I am starting to lose count of how many times taxpayers have to rescue failing private rail operators, with South Western Rail now joining the long list.

“The game is up for the failed franchising model which time and again sees ordinary people picking up the tab when operators can no longer make a profit.

“Just like in our NHS and utilities, the Tories manufactured an imaginary railway market which has been an abysmal failure.

“It’s now time to re-name the Operator of Last Resort to the ‘Operator of First Choice’ and for Johnson to bite the bullet and bring our entire rail network, lock, stock and barrel back into public ownership.”


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