These are pivotal times for the UK’s railways, for those who use rail services and those who work in the industry. Multiple franchises are up for grabs in the next three years and the government and train operators are looking at ways to slash £3.5bn costs from the industry.
The government is unsurprisingly backing the train companies, giving longer franchises with more commercial freedom to hike up fares, cut less profitable services, close ticket offices and shed thousands of staff from train and stations. At the same time, Network Rail is being broken up and possibly sold off or placed under the management of train operators through regional business alliances. Thousands of safety critical maintenance, renewals and signal staff face the chop.
The scale of these challenges requires a bold response from those representing rail workers and rail passengers.
Action for Rail brings together the TUC, ASLEF, RMT, TSSA and Unite together to campaign against these proposals and to promote the alternative of a fairer, more efficient, integrated national railway under public ownership.
Through combined funding, the campaign has established its own jointly badged website, campaign materials and established co-ordinated days of action, mobilising hundreds of activists at rail stations across the UK.
Through working together, Action for Rail has maximised our media impact with enormous coverage for our days of action, such as today’s activity on rail fares with friends from Campaign for Better Transport, Climate Rush and Bring Back British Rail.
From the BBC to the Daily Mail and key regional press like The Journal, this coverage has helped us bring home the message that passengers and staff are paying the price to fund the increasing costs of privatised rail.
We’ll be carrying on the campaign through on-line lobbying activities such as this action on fare hikes aimed at MPs.
Find out more about Action for Rail by visiting us at www.actionforrail.org and following us on Facebook and Twitter.