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RDG ‘puts foxes in charge of the coop’

17 Oct 2012

Mick Whelan dismissed today’s announcement that the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) is to be formalised as a permanent body as ‘putting foxes in charge of the coop’. The RDG has been set up as a result of the McNulty report to ‘provide cross-industry leadership’. ‘It is made up of TOCs, FOCs and Network Rail,’ Mick says. ‘Their task appears to be to approve of whatever they choose to do. The views of passengers and staff are considered of no value – they think we should be grateful for being allowed to observe proceedings. We’re not.’

The rail regulator ORR as it established the group conceded that, ‘A number of comments suggested that the composition of the RDG leadership group would not represent the whole industry and that proposals and decisions will be commercially driven with no protection for passengers and taxpayers.’ That is certainly ASLEF’s position. We believe it will be yet another undemocratic body imposing decisions on the railway in the interest of making profit rather than the passenger and taxpayer.

‘The union wants more leadership within the industry and a greater sense of direction and co-operation leading to a fully integrated rail network – but setting up this trade association made up of ATOC, the Freight Operating Companies and Network Rail is not the industry wide forum of stakeholders we believe is necessary.

‘We fear it means long term strategic decisions will go from the Department for Transport to the RDG, which means to a group of short term profiteers rather than an accountable government department,’ Mick says. ‘The people who know how to improve the railway are those who work on the network every day of the year – not folk who sit in boardrooms.’

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