Union joins national fares protests
14 Aug 2012
ASLEF members across the country joined protests about fare rises and job and service cuts this morning with the other rail unions, transport campaigners and rail passenger groups.
The union’s general secretary Mick Whelan said, ‘Rail workers and the travelling public are united in this campaign. Commuters, environmentalists, businessmen, holidaymakers – even motorists! – all have a vested interest in an affordable, accessible and reliable rail service.’
The Government is allowing train firms to raise fares from January by 3% more than the inflation rate of 3.2% which was published today.
As the 3% figure is an average for regulated fares, some could jump by 11.2% according to some commentators, meaning tens of thousands of Home Counties commuters could be paying over £100 a week to get to work in the New Year. Most rush-hour travel, season tickets and off-peak fares will rise by well above the rate of inflation.
Some protestors dressed as Bullingdon Club members to get over the message that rail will soon be priced so that only toffs can use the service
Meanwhile government cost-cutting proposals resulting from the McNulty Report could mean losing up to 20,000 jobs, mainly affecting station staff, guards, catering and ticket offices.
Waterloo Station was the focus of the protests in London
Protestors today argued that the only way to prevent this ‘untenable’ position is to cut out the huge extra costs due to privatisation, and return the service to public ownership. Research carried out by Transport for Quality of Life shows that that eliminating the costs of privatisation through integrating rail under public ownership could equate to an across the board fare reduction of 18%.
National Organiser Simon Weller and EC member Marz Colombini join the demonstration
The TUC has set up an easy to use on-line link to lobby your MP over rail fares which can be found here. We urge members to use the facility and urge MPs to ensure that rail fares and services become a priority political issue.