Greater Anglia and Essex Thameside franchises should be run in public sector says union

21 June 2010

Train drivers union ASLEF has expressed its regret at last week’s announcement (June 17th) by the Department for Transport that the re-franchising of the Greater Anglia and Essex Thameside franchises will be delayed until the end of this year and the autumn of next respectively to allow a review of Government franchising policy.

The implication of this decision is that transport group National Express will continue to operate the highly profitable routes despite the DfT’s previous insistence that the company would lose both franchises in March 2011 as a result of their calamitous running of the East Coast mainline.

ASLEF General Secretary Keith Norman said: ‘The previous Government lost faith in National Express’s ability to run the Greater Anglia and Essex Thameside franchises by refusing to extend the franchises after March 2011. The new Government’s decision to extend the tendering timetable, in effect, grants the company a franchise extension by default.’

Keith added: ‘National Express has lost all motivation to improve industrial relations or passenger services industrial relations while both franchises will be key routes for the successful delivery of the 2012 Olympics. It simply cannot be right for the company to remain in the rail industry and therefore the DfT should bring both franchises back into the public sector when they expire in March 2011.’

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