RMT holds demonstrations against cuts included in new franchise deals

TransPennine_Express_at_PiccadillyRMT members are today demonstrating in Manchester and Lancaster over cuts to Northern Rail and Trans-Pennine Express in new franchise deals.

They are rallying outside Manchester Victoria station between and 4 and 5pm, and outside Lancaster railway station between 4 and 6pm.

The union is angry at government claims that ‘new’ trains are being provided in the North of England. The truth is, the union says, old trains are being borrowed from another operator

That RMT campaign is taking five key messages out to the travelling public:

* say “No” to driver-only trains

* keep ticket offices open

* keep stations staffed and safe

* stop cuts to the Transpennine Express Network

* oppose massive fare increases

The union is also protesting outside Barrow-in-Furness station between 8.30 and 11am tomorrow, and outside Blackburn station between 10.30am and 12noon on Saturday.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “The bluster from the government about “new trains for the north” has been exposed as a pack of spin, subterfuge and downright lies. The truth is that the more modern rolling stock is being shipped south with ageing units, running reduced formations, dumped onto Trans-Pennine Express  in yet another lashed-up measure which is an insult to the whole region.

“While George Osborne has been spouting a stream of rhetoric about a “Northern Powerhouse” the real truth is that the whole region can expect sub-standard, bodged-up services for many years to come. RMT activists and our supporters in the community will continue to be out in force across the region in this New Year with a renewal of our fight against the rail franchise carve up.

“RMT’s message is clear, the fight to stop the outrageous attack on jobs, safety and services under the Northern and TPE franchise plans continues in 2015 and the union is sending out the clearest possible signal to George Osborne, his government and Rail North that they need to scrap this attack on transport operations and to cut the hot air about improving services when they are actually condemning the North to years of rail misery.”

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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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