INTEGRATION OF TRACK AND TRAIN OPERATIONS – NETWORK RAIL
I write to advise branches of an announcement made yesterday by The Secretary of State for Transport that the Tory Government plans a major reorganisation of the railway which would see track and train operations integrated. Also announced was a plan for the private sector to fund, construct and operate an East West Route from Oxford to Cambridge on a similar basis to Crossrail. Appallingly the first the union heard of this was via the press.
I have today written to Network Rail expressing our alarm and disgust at the manner in which we have been kept in the dark. We see this plan for the future of Train and Track for what it is, a clear attempt to further extend privatisation taking us back towards the days of Railtrack where private shareholder profit was prioritised over public safety. Lethal accidents such as those at Hatfield and Potters Bar were the direct result of this skewed and dangerous logic, and we will strongly challenge any privatisation of Network Rail with all tools at our disposal.
Since the creation of Network Rail we have had a constructive relationship which has benefited the railway, passengers and staff. However it can only be described as disgraceful that the first we hear of a plan to drastically reorganise the operation of Network Rail was through the mainstream media. Network Rail regularly harp on about us being Stakeholders but we and our thousands of members appear to be an afterthought!
The idea that more privatisation is needed on the railway is ludicrous and handing over responsibility for the track over to private companies, most of whom have demonstrated repeated failures in running basic services is very alarming. Furthermore the proposed private sector construction and operation of East West Rail, operated without Network Rail involvement only serves to create further concerns over the private control of the track. We have demand urgent discussions with Network Rail to clarify the implications of this privatisation on members’ jobs and conditions.
Please pass this information on to any Network Rail members in your branch.