South East Trains re-privatisation

26 July 2005

ASLEF, the train drivers" union today condemned moves to re-privatise South East Trains as a betrayal of the hopes of passengers and public."

"The private sector bid for the South East Train franchise will not be welcomed by train drivers, railway workers or the public" said ASLEF acting general secretary Keith Norman today.

"Since the government took the franchise away from its discredited private train operators punctuality and reliability have improved under public ownership" said Keith Norman.

"To hand the running of this vital public service back to the private sector will be seen as a victory for bankers and big business over the interests of passengers and public."

"It flies in the face of the clear decision by Labour"s policy forum and the Labour Party conference to make public ownership of rail a centre piece of Labour Party policy. It will take away a powerful reason for the rail users of Kent and East Sussex to vote Labour."

 

Background

South Eastern Trains have run trains in Kent and part of East Sussex and on routes into London from those areas since Connex lost its franchise. 

The MTR Corporation, which runs the Hong Kong Metro, wants to take over the franchise with GNER, which operates trains on the East Coast Main Line. 

SE England Labour MPs and all the rail unions want SE Trains to remain in public hands. 100 Labour MPs called for the franchising process to be halted and for South Eastern to remain state-owned as "a model of good practice".

Rail unions TSSA and ASLEF backed successful motions to Labour"s policy making bodies that established Labour policy in favour of rail public ownership.

Recent punctuality performance figures show that South Eastern has outperformed its nearest rivals, Southern and South West Trains while passenger complaints have fallen from 23,800 in the last year Connex was in charge to 16,700 in the past 12 months

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