Scotland's Railway

17 November 2019

ASLEF, the train drivers' trade union, is calling on voters in Scotland to help return a Labour government at Westminster and bring the railway in Scotland back into public ownership. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has pledged to end the disastrous privatisation of Britain's railways, which began under John Major 25 years ago, and restore what is, and always has been, a natural monopoly to the public sector.


Mick Whelan, ASLEF's general secretary, said: 'It is clear to everyone – to businesses as well as passengers, and to everyone who works in the rail industry – that privatisation has failed.'


Kevin Lindsay, ASLEF's full-time organiser in Scotland, said: 'Criticism of ScotRail is coming from all quarters because the company is failing to deliver for the people of Scotland. The performance of Abellio has been truly terrible. The company has failed to recruit enough drivers, is continually skipping stations, does not have enough rolling stock, has used HSTs that have not been refurbished, and has a history of poor industrial relations.


'But we don’t want to replace one failing private train operator with another because the franchise model is broken. The Tories privatised our railways and anyone who believes in a better railway – and a modern, progressive, 21st century vision for Scotland – should vote Labour on 12 December. It’s time to stand up for Scotland and run our railway as a public service, not as a vehicle to make a private profit.'


Richard Leonard, leader of the Scottish Labour Party, and Colin Smyth, the SLP transport spokesman, asked MSPs to back a motion at Holyrood last month to bring ScotRail back into the hands of the Scottish people. But the Labour motion was voted down 85-32 by an unholy alliance of two pro-privatisation parties – the SNP and the Tories.


Kevin Lindsay said: 'The SNP showed its true colours – as Tartan Tories – by voting with the Conservatives at Holyrood to keep our railway in the hands of the privateers. If you want a publicly-owned railway in Scotland – and most people do – then vote Labour in the general election.'


Mick Whelan said: 'The Scottish people deserve to own and run their own Scottish railway. Let’s bring it back into public ownership and then let passengers have lower fares and let’s invest any surpluses back into the Scottish rail network.'


Mick and Kevin will be campaigning with Scottish Labour Party and ASLEF activists outside Queen Street station, Glasgow, from 7.30 to 9.30am, and Haymarket station, Edinburgh, from 4.30 to 6.30pm, on Monday 18 November.


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