Letter in the Guardian

21 September 2013

A letter signed by Mick Whelan, Bob Crow, Manuel Cortes, Frances O'Grady, and Diana Holland, representing the four trade unions with members in the rail industry, and the Trades Union Congress, was published in The Guardian this morning ahead of the Labour Party conference in Brighton. This is what it says:

As the representatives of employees in the rail industry we know better than most that the existing rail network is operating at near full capacity. Neither new motorways nor domestic air travel alone are sustainable options to meet the mobility requirements of a British population expected to grow by 10 million by 2033.

We regret the absence of a national transport strategy from the current – and previous – government and believe the development of a high speed rail network must be at the heart of Labour’s transport policy and its future vision for the economic health of this country.

We welcome the Labour Party conference’s support for HS2 this week and applaud the party’s pledge to scrap HS2 Ltd and hand over the project to Network Rail in order to ensure the new line is properly integrated into the existing rail network. We are calling on conference to examine all models for the running of HS2’s rail operations, including not for profit options, and urge Labour to ensure the line is built, and delivered, in a way that maximises UK jobs, training, and apprenticeships.

Mick Whelan, general secretary, ASLEF
Bob Crow, general secretary, RMT
Manuel Cortes, general secretary, TSSA
Frances O’Grady, general secretary, TUC
Diana Holland, assistant general secretary, Unite
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