The RMT says the high speed rail link between Birmingham and London must be built, owned and operated by the public sector. With the government expected to give the go-ahead today to the £32bn project, RMT general secretary Bob Crow said: “No one has f …
The RMT says the high speed rail link between Birmingham and London must be built, owned and operated by the public sector.
With the government expected to give the go-ahead today to the £32bn project, RMT general secretary Bob Crow said: “No one has fought harder for the investment and modernisation required to drag the UK’s railways out of the slow lane than RMT and development of high speed links must be a key component of our rail plans.
“However, any attempt by the government to pay for these developments by cutting jobs, services and investment elsewhere in the system, along the lines set out in the McNulty rail review, will meet with the stiffest resistance from RMT.
“RMT is also demanding that High Speed Two be built, owned and operated in the public sector free from the greed and profiteering of the private rail companies whose exploitation of the travelling public has dragged our railways down for a generation.”
The decision has been welcomed by the TUC, whose deputy general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “This decision to invest in high speed rail will prove vital in getting more passengers and freight onto rail, narrowing the north south divide and speeding our economic recovery.
“But thousands of jobs in rail construction, renewals and maintenance are currently under threat from Sir Roy McNulty’s proposals to cut staffing across the rail industry. If ministers are serious about delivering the rail infrastructure of the future, they must defend the jobs of these skilled and experienced workers who will be essential if HS2 is to become a reality.
“With government and cross party support secured, HS2 must be built in a way that maximises jobs and apprenticeships and delivers real benefits to passengers, communities and the environment.”
The GMB is calling for HS2 to be extended to Heathrow.
It says building a third runway at Heathrow is far less expensive and can be completed earlier than starting from scratch to build a new airport hub in north Kent or in the Thames estuary.
Mick Rix, GMB National Officer for the civil aviation industry, said: “This go ahead for HS2 is welcome but it should be extended to Heathrow. It puts into sharp contrast the announcement by George Osborne in the Autumn Statement that the Government was looking at another airport hub in the South of England, but not at Heathrow.
“GMB considers that this is profoundly wrong and calls on all political parties to reopen the issue of the 3rd runway at Heathrow.
“Government recognizes that there is a shortage of runway capacity and that the prosperity of London and the UK will be held back unless this shortage is addressed.
“[It] also recognizes that not building a third runway at Heathrow will not cut aircraft carbon emissions – as the hub will be built somewhere else in the region or if not built in the UK the traffic will move onto mainland Europe.
“Those who deny this are either fooling themselves or trying to fool the electorate.”
“Government Those who deny this as well are either fooling themselves or trying to fool themselves.”
The GMB says it is dismayed that the government is looking at another airport hub in the South of England when the UK already has the world’s largest airport hub at Heathrow.
Midlands TUC Regional Secretary Rob Johnston has also welcomed the announcement.
He said: “HS2 will prove to be a huge boost the midlands economy. This is about investment in the future and shows the importance of government action to support regional economies.
“We all know the midlands economy has been struggling, investments such as HS2 are essential if we are to rebuild and revitalise our region’s industrial and manufacturing sectors.”
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