Union petitions EU over handling of West Coast Mainline contract

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The RMT is to petition the European Commisson over procedural breaches on the planned award of an extension to the West Coast Main Line contract to Virgin Rail Group.

Solicitors for the union will be tabling the petition this week as the talks over the new contract, due to start on the 9th December, remain log-jammed.

RMT general secretary Bob Crow said:  “The government’s botched handling of the West Coast franchise still leaves 3,200 jobs, and many more with supporting contractors, hanging in the balance only weeks away from the contracts end because of the Tories ideological objection to going the safe and simple route of renationalisation.

“The notion pedaled by Virgin that giving them an extension for a few months, before retendering another short term deal and then going for a longer franchise after a couple of years, gives the staff any security is a sick joke. The current West Coast staff could have three bosses in three years with all of the uncertainty and potential for cuts to jobs, working conditions and pensions that are thrown in the mix at every twist and turn. That’s not job security, that’s gambling with people’s working lives in the name of private profit.

“If RMT, or any other union, sought to flout laws and regulations in the way that the Government are proposing over the West Coast lash up we would be dragged into court like a shot. RMT will not sit back while our members are hung out to dry by this franchise fiasco.

“The only option to guarantee certainty and stability to both staff and passengers is renationalisation.”


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