Taxpayers being used to fund rail dispute to the tune of £1bn – RMT


“The public is being ripped off not only to financially underwrite this dispute that could have been settled 18 months ago.”

Mich Lynch, RMT General Secretary

By the RMT Press Office

RMT has found that rail companies are being indemnified against any losses to the tune of £1bn on the same day there is a national strike on the railways.

20,000 railway workers have walked out today (June 29th) in a long running dispute over working conditions, job security and pay.

Rail companies have had their losses from strike action covered by taxpayer funded indemnity which has meant there is no financial incentive for the rail operators to settle the dispute with the RMT.

The decision to close ticket offices as part of a cuts programme will only save around £89m – a tiny fraction of the £1bn spent by the government to artificially keep the dispute going and prevent a settlement. 

Between March 2020 and September 2022 rail companies made £310 million in taxpayer-funded profits – again dwarfing any potential cost savings from closing 1,000 ticket offices and cutting over 2000 station staff posts.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: “The public is being ripped off not only to financially underwrite this dispute that could have been settled 18 months ago but also to fund the closure of ticket offices which they rely on.

“Closing 1,000 ticket offices will only save a small fraction of the money spent on rail company indemnity to prolong the strike and the handsome profits they have made.

Ticket office closures are not popular with the public and we have seen mass opposition across the country.

“Not only are ticket office closures being used as a fig leaf for the wholesale de-staffing of stations but this is the thin end of wedge for getting rid of staff across the railway network – something our union will oppose vigorously.

“The elderly, vulnerable and disabled will no longer want to and in some cases be unable to use the railway because no trained and friendly staff are waiting to assist them.

“Our union remains wholly committed to reaching a negotiated settlement on pay jobs security and conditions.

“But our members remain steadfast in their industrial action and will not be cowed into submission by anyone.”

Featured image: Mick Lynch, RMT General Secretary, at RMT solidarity strike rally at London Kings Cross, 25th June 2022. Photo credit: Steve Eason under Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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