Union accuses government of “hiding behind the convenient cloak of commercial confidentiality”


The RMT has demanded full publication of both the Virgin and First Group bids for the West Coast franchise as the whole process was thrown into complete disarray after the government slammed on the brakes on the contract award as the whole shabby exercise heads for the courts.

RMT accused the government of “hiding behind the convenient cloak of commercial confidentiality” and only edited highlights of the First Group “winning” bid have been published and those are clearly written by spin doctors and advertising gurus as a series of vague and unsustainable promises not worth the paper that they are printed on.

RMT general secretary Bob Crow said: “We want the hard facts and the full detail behind this shambles and it is clear that the Government are terrified of allowing a proper scrutiny of the financial structuring of the First bid because it would simply not stand up to any forensic examination. Department of Transport officials were mugged off by GNER and National Express on the East Coast only to see the promises collapse into rubble – they are now engaged in a full blown action replay on the West Coast.

“This whole West Coast franchise process has moved from farce to chaos and RMT wants urgent publication of the full documentation of both the First Group and Virgin bids so that the people who will end up paying for this inevitable fiasco, the taxpayers and the passengers, can judge exactly what is going on behind the cloak of commercial confidentiality.

“The case for re-nationalisation is now overwhelming as a key route in the nation that gave the railways to the world is dragged down to a laughing stock by the insane privatisation process. The public sector stepped in and rescued the East Coast and rather than waiting for history to repeat itself we are calling for the tried and tested publicly owned option to now be given an opportunity to sort the West Coast debacle. ”

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