Congress notes the significant threat faced by the rail industry due to government actions to starve the industry from the funding that is required to run a safe and viable rail network
Congress notes that rail workers across the industry have maintained and operated this essential public service throughout the Covid crisis. Instead of being rewarded for achieving this, many rail workers have instead seen no pay rises for years and their jobs threatened whilst passengers have seen train fares increasing by retail prices index inflation at a time of crisis for family finances.
Congress welcomes that the Department for Transport admitted that the privatisation of our railways was a failure. It has left us with a fragmented rail system from which many private companies have been able to extract money for shareholders and foreign governments, whilst leaving the public to foot the bill for services when the private operators have failed to deliver them.
Congress believes that the proposals under Great British Railways to move to a concession model are a missed opportunity to truly fix our railways, as the concession model places all the risk on the public purse whilst allowing private operators to still extract profits.
Congress believes that under the current government, rail is not receiving the appropriate investment it needs as has been evidenced with the cutting of HS2 eastern leg and the cutting back of Northern Powerhouse Rail. While the government will claim it wants to level up the country, its actions speak louder.
Congress welcomes ASLEF’s Invest in Rail campaign launched in 2022, which calls for investment in the railways to open new lines, electrify the network, invest in and upgrade current lines and improve access to create a rail network that truly serves the public.
Congress believes that if the trade union movement is to be successful in protecting members’ jobs, terms and conditions and in challenging the unfair pay freeze, the TUC needs to be at the centre of all efforts to maintain the maximum level of unity between workers across all industries and all unions as well as the fight against the Tory government’s attacks on industrial action by permitting the use of agency staff to replace striking workers and future plans to attack the right to take strike action.
Congress expresses alarm at the recent mixed messaging emanating from the Labour Party leadership over rail public ownership. Moving away from public ownership would be a betrayal of passengers and workers and Congress calls for the General Council to coordinate political campaigning for public ownership around the forthcoming Transport Bill.
Congress therefore instructs the General Council to provide every support possible in helping affiliates and their members in their efforts to resist ongoing employer and government attacks.
Congress calls on the General Council to:
i. campaign for proper investment in our railways including the reversal of cuts to Northern Powerhouse Rail and HS2
ii. support the rail unions in highlighting the profiteers extracting money from our railways including under the new Great British Railways model.
iii. fully support ASLEF’s Invest in Rail campaign.
Seconder: Transport Salaried Staff’s Association