[2020] Motion 55 Railway emergency measures agreements

Composited motion

Received from:

Merged into composite 13

Congress notes that the coronavirus pandemic led the government to offer England’s train operating companies (TOCs) a six-month emergency measures agreement (EMA) in which the state would take on all revenue and cost risk for running rail services whilst paying the TOCs a small management fee.

The government’s action, effectively nationalising the TOCs, was necessary because of a fear that the massive reduction in passenger numbers would lead to many TOCs entering insolvency at a time when rail services were required to get key workers to NHS hospitals and to keep the nation running.

Congress believes that the pandemic has shown how the dogma of rail privatisation falls apart at a time of national emergency when government intervention becomes necessary. Even before coronavirus, many TOCs were dependent on direct and indirect tax payer subsidies that guaranteed regular profits with some, like LNER and Northern, already back in public ownership.

Congress notes that the government is reviewing the EMAs and considering the recommendations of the unpublished Williams Rail Review, potentially as a way to introduce concessions like those run by TfL.

Congress believes that the time is right to eliminate the leech of the private sector altogether from the delivery of rail services by taking our trains back into public ownership. Congress, therefore, calls on the General Council to make the case for publicly owned and accountable rail services via a concerted campaign of political and public engagement to influence the government in its review.

Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association