Govia Must Be Stripped Of All Franchises Says RMT!

Striking RMT members fighting to keep the guard on trains – Southern Rail is one of Govia’s franchises

GOVIA must be stripped of all franchises and a wider review launched says RMT as the ‘fatally compromised’ review into Southeastern Rail Franchise finds ‘serious errors over several years’.

Transport union RMT demanded on Thursday that Govia be stripped of its remaining rail franchise and called on the Department for Transport to launch a wider review of possible fraud in the privatised rail network.
The union’s call followed news that the Go-Ahead Group had concluded its review of financial wrongdoing on Southeastern Railways and found that ‘serious errors’ were made by London South Eastern Railway with respect to its engagement with the DfT over several years. In particular, the Group accepts that, by failing to notify the DfT of certain overpayments or monies due to the DfT.
Go-Ahead says it has shared its report with the DfT.
Despite the public and political outcry over the scandal Go–Ahead also announced that its ‘current expectations are that adjusted operating profit for the rail division will now be ahead of previous expectations’.
RMT previously described the review as ‘fatally compromised’, after it revealed that it was being led by paid employees and shareholders of the Go-Ahead Group and Keolis in the full knowledge that the results would be used to judge whether they are fit to continue holding the Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern franchise.
The union has also previously called for the Public Accounts Committee to examine the DfT’s actions over Southeastern.
RMT General Secretary Mick Lynch said: ‘This whole affair stinks. We have a collection of fat cats who’ve been caught with their fingers in the till effectively marking their own work and handing in their dodgy dossier to the DfT in the hope of keeping their last remaining contract.
‘Whatever is in this report, the truth is likely to be far worse, which is why the DfT must bar Go-Ahead from the railways permanently and launch a wider, truly independent review, involving the National Audit and Serious Fraud Offices into historic fraud in the rotten privatised rail system.
‘What makes this all even harder to stomach is that despite the public outcry over the scandal, Go–Ahead also today announced they will be getting higher profits from rail than previously expected which is an absolute scandal when passengers are facing fare rises and rail workers facing pay cuts.’
Meanwhile transport union TSSA, reacting to new Covid measures being brought in, called on the government to reintroduce the furlough job retention scheme.
Measures announced on Wednesday evening include asking people to work from home if they can; mandatory face coverings extended to other indoor venues, such as theatres and cinemas; Covid pass or negative lateral flow needed for nightclubs and big venues, daily tests rather than isolation for close contacts of positive cases; and a big push on encouraging people to get vaccine jabs and boosters.
Manuel Cortes, TSSA General Secretary, said: ‘Throughout the pandemic this government has failed to act quickly enough or take the measures needed to prevent the spread of this deadly virus, save lives and protect the economy.
‘Our members in the travel industry are already suffering as a result of the reintroduction of travel restrictions and now many more workers are going to feel the pinch as Plan B kicks in. The government must bring back the furlough job retention scheme to ensure no one loses their job as result of the new restrictions.
‘Serious measures need to be taken to save lives and protect public health and our NHS. The government must bring back the furlough job retention scheme so that businesses and workers can fully comply with Covid measures without the fear of job losses or businesses going bust.’

  • TSSA General Secretary Manuel Cortes has called on the Tory government to end its ‘short-sighted short-termism’ amid reports of an emerging deal with Transport for London (TfL) lasting until the end of the financial year.

TSSA has long been critical of short-term deals from government, arguing that proper investment rather than deep cuts is needed across the capital to pave the way for a wider Covid recovery.
Commenting, union leader Cortes said: ‘A deal which takes us through to next Spring is just more short-sighted short-termism from this Conservative government which is nowhere close to what is needed at TfL.
‘Only meaningful long-term financial commitment from ministers will provide the stable financial underpinning our great capital city and our country’s wider economy needs.
‘Take away the spin and the party games the Tories are so fond of playing and you are left with cuts of up to £1billion in TfL’s budget. That is totally unacceptable, as is the fact that unlike other world cities London has no operating grant and relies largely on fares.’

  • TSSA, has reacted angrily at the announcement for up to 600 jobs to be axed from London Underground stations and has vowed to resist any job cuts.

TSSA has called the staffing cuts ‘completely unacceptable’ and the pre-Christmas timing ‘shameful’.
The announcement – made to a group of local reps without any prior warning – says that savings have to be made and that 500-600 station roles will be cut.
Lorraine Ward, TSSA Organising Director, said: ‘Cutting station staff is completely unacceptable. We need to encourage more people onto public transport, but cutting station staff will damage that effort.
‘Staff are already fearful for their futures and the way that London Underground has snuck this out just weeks before Christmas is shameful.
‘TSSA will fight these job losses and stand up for our members and passengers. We are totally opposed to any job cuts across London Underground and TfL.’
RMT has called on Transport for London to step in and stop the job cuts on London Underground as new data from Transport for London has shown a rising rate of crime and anti-social behaviour and increasing passenger fear on the capital’s transport system.
In a new briefing published yesterday, RMT revealed that TfL’s Customer Service and Operational Performance Panel were shown data indicating that:

  • The rate of recorded crime and anti-social behaviour is up across all modes of TfL transport by 40% from 8.4 per million passenger journeys to 11.8 per million passenger journeys.
  • 1/3rd of passengers surveyed said they felt worried on public transport in the last 3 months and 9% of Londoners were completely or temporarily deterred from using public transport due to a worrying incident.
  • The level of hate crime on the Underground has nearly returned to pre-pandemic levels even though passenger numbers are still down. Around 20% of hate crimes are against London Underground staff.

In November last year, the same panel heard a report showing that passenger confidence depended on stations and trains being clean, orderly and safe with highly visible staff ensuring effective crowd management.