9-1 for strike action on Heathrow Express

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RMT members have voted by huge majorities across the Heathrow Express for strike action in response to a package of multi-million pound cuts which amount to an all-out assault on pay, jobs and safety.

The RMT reported a nine-to-one strike vote at the railway privateer yesterday, with an even bigger majority for action short of a strike.

Heathrow Express plans to make £6 million in cuts over the next five years, threatening 201 jobs – almost half the current workforce.

RMT Acting General Secretary Mick Cash said: ‘Our members have now sent the clearest possible message in this ballot that they are prepared to stand up and fight the cuts and the threat to pay, working conditions and jobs.’

The Heathrow Express ballot result will now be considered by RMT’s executive.

Meanwhile, commenting on yesterday’s report by the Office of Rail Regulation, which revealed that the UK rail industry received over £4bn in government support last year, Cash said: ‘The corporate welfare on Britain’s railways continues unchecked with the scroungers from the private train companies fleecing the British people for mind-blowing sums of money.

‘The case for bringing the whole rail network under public ownership, and ending the scandals of subsidy and revenue support, is absolutely overwhelming and it’s about time that the politicians of all parties took note.’

TUC General Secretary and chair of Action For Rail, Frances O’Grady said: ‘Today’s figures show just how dependent rail firms have become on the public purse. All bar one of the UK’s private train operators rely upon public subsidies to run services.

‘Taxpayers’ money that should be spent on improving services is instead being siphoned off into shareholders’ pockets. The three largest dividend payers – Northern Rail, Transpennine Express and Virgin Trains – together paid out nearly £100m last year after receiving over £1bn in public funds.

‘Rail franchising is failing both passengers and taxpayers. The government’s determination to re-privatise the East Coast Mainline – even though it is delivering the biggest cash surplus of all – shows it has learnt nothing from past mistakes.

‘This report clearly shows how public ownership remains the best value for money for taxpayers.’