RMT is today holding protests in Cardiff and London against the axing of buffet cars, on-board staff and maintenance workers on First Great Western and East Coast Inter-City services

RMT general secretary Mick Cash with protesters at King's Cross in December 2014, fighting the threat to jobs, services and safety from the new Inter-City trains on the East Coast and Great Western routes. Pic by Guy Smallman for RMT

RMT general secretary Mick Cash with protesters at King’s Cross in December 2014, fighting the threat to jobs, services and safety from the new Inter-City trains on the East Coast and Great Western routes.
Pic by Guy Smallman for RMT

RMT members are today demonstrating in Cardiff and London against the axing of buffet cars, on-board staff and maintenance workers on First Great Western and East Coast Inter-City services.

The union, backed by MPs in Early Day Motion 584, has blasted the move as “ushering in an “Upstairs-Downstairs” service on Inter-City services while British passengers pay the highest fares in Europe.”

Members of the public are invited to join the protests at Cardiff Central Station, Central Square CF10 1EP and Kings Cross Station, Euston Road N1 9AL from 8am.

The events mark the start of a new wave of campaigning with thousands of postcards distributed the length and breadth of both First Great Western and East Coast routes urging the public to get involved in the fight for jobs, services and safety and to pile pressure on their MPs to formally support the RMT campaign by signing up to EDM 584.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “This government of the rich, for the rich and by the rich now intends to introduce an “Upstairs-Downstairs” service on Britain’s long haul rail services which would condemn the vast majority to pay through the nose to travel in rammed-out carriages where the catering trolley is jammed at one end while the elite glide through the country like extras from Downton Abbey.

“This move has got the stamp of Cameron, Osborne and the posh boys from the Bullingdon Club plastered all over it. RMT believes that all rail users deserve a high quality service and that means employing the staff to deliver that rather than cutting corners to maximise profits and targeting what’s left at the rich.

RMT is throwing its full resources and industrial and political clout behind the fight to stop this attack on jobs, services and safety arising from the introduction of the Inter-City fleet on both the East Coast and the Great Western routes. These new Hitachi trains have been explicitly commissioned by the government to allow the sacking of on-board staff, the axing of buffet cars and have left a question mark hanging over the future of the existing maintenance depots.

“These plans are also wholly bound up with the government’s ideological move to bulldoze through the re- privatisation of  the East Coast rail services while the refranchising of the Great Western route is mired in controversy and back-room deals and First Group has been consigned to the ranks of corporate basket-case. RMT will not stand back while our members jobs and futures are caught in the crossfire of this right-wing madness.

RMT’s campaign will point out the public that they have a massive stake in this drive to milk the Inter-City routes for every penny the private companies can extract. They would be forced to pay higher fares to travel on crowded and unsafe trains where they will struggle to even get a drink of water on a long haul journey. We will be calling on the passengers to join us in piling pressure on their MPs to reverse this latest assault on rail services and jobs in the name of private greed.”


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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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