20 Days Remaining

Wednesday 9th
posted by Morning Star in Britain

by Steve Sweeney

RMT has demanded rail privateer Abellio be stripped of the Scotrail franchise ahead of today’s rail day of action.

The transport union has called on the Scottish government to set out an immediate timetable for the return of Scotrail to public ownership amid claims that the Dutch company is “plundering £1 million a month” in profits that could be invested in staffing, services and safety.

The Scottish government is reported to be considering options for returning the franchise to the public sector. It has received a 19,000-signatory petiton calling on Transport Minister Humza Yousaf to “make ScotRail bosses improve Scotland’s trains or strip them of their contract.”

Abellio was awarded a 10-year franchise in 2015, an act that RMT warned was a “massive betrayal” of the public that would have damaging consequences.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “RMT is campaigning to make Scotland’s trains safer, more secure and accessible.

This can only be done with a publicly owned service, where profit isn’t the main motive of the operator. The million pounds a month that is being stripped out by Abellio and shipped across the North Sea to Holland would go a long way to addressing the staffing, safety and performance issues that are dragging Scotrail down.

“RMT calls on the Scottish government to set out a timetable for bringing Scotrail under public ownership, and with the current level of anger that’s reinforced in the petition there can be no excuse for the dragging of heels.

“The union is available for talks with ministers to take the issues of safe staffing, investment and public ownership forward.”