A people's railway

01 October 2017

Once more I have to pay tribute to the emergency services and the workers across all grades who showed their dedication and responsibility after another terrorist incident aimed at the transport network. We will never be bowed or cowed by such cowardly and dangerous actions but vigilance – and a fully staffed railway – is essential to ensuring the safety of the travelling public and those of us employed in our great industry. I do wonder if those who proposed the removal of CCTV in Scotland and the subsuming of the BTP are now ruing those decisions...


Almost one million jobs have been lost from frontline public services – including the police, fire and NHS – to the detriment to our communities and futures. We have just spent a week at the TUC hearing horror story after horror story about the impact not only on the workers in these sectors but on the people they want to serve but cannot help under this government. Every sector is or will be in crisis and the notional lifting of the pay cap for police and prison officers was just a cheap attempt to attract headlines. A pay rise that isn’t a pay rise but a bonus, not pensionable, doesn’t reach RPI – so is in fact another pay cut – is beyond contempt. The CWU is balloting over the attack on their pensions by what is now a privatised company that has paid out £800 million in dividends. They have our full support in their struggle.


On a happier note, I want to congratulate our AGS Simon Weller on once more being elected to the general council of the TUC.


We have also been at the Labour Party conference – reports in the next edition of the Journal – seeking to influence policy for a people’s railway that delivers for the economy, the passenger and the worker. We already have a commitment to bring the railways into public ownership, but we need long-term commitments to generational investment and security in the freight sector. It’s time for social impact to be considered when we procure – highlighted by Network Rail not using UK steel on some major projects.


In this post-Trump pre-Brexit age the world can seem a nastier place; then you spend a week with those who care about others and understand natural justice and you return to work reinvigorated.




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