Wednesday, April 20, 2005
Rail Against Privatisation
Most people can see that rail privatisation is crap (according to the RMT, 75% of the public want the railways taken back into public ownership) - indeed, it's blindingly obvious that privatisation's been utterly disastrous and driven more by ideology (on the part of politicians) and greed (on the part of private contractors) than by any kind of economic or practical sense. However, the the details of private sector incompetence and disregard for worker and passenger safety still havethe power to shock. Here's some info gleaned from an RMT leaflet:
- Rail investment is 3 times more expensive under privatisation than under British Rail.
- Rail operators receive more subsidy yet provide worse services than under BR.
- Around £800 million is taken out of the industry every year and returns to the private sector add up to over £6 billion since 1996.
- in 2004 8 rail workers were killed - every one of them on a site contolled by a private contractor.
- RMT has to fight constant attempts by private operators to do away with the safety role of train guards.
- South Eastern Trains - the one train-operating company backin public hands, needs £1 million a month less in subsidy than its fat cat predecessor - despite restoring staff levels slashed by Connex.
I had an interesting chat along the march with the agent for the Green Party candidate in York. He's a nice bloke and I'm now certainly going to vote Green in the election. He said that he's had many reports that the (very Blairite, pro-war) Labour Party candidate (York's MP) has been having a hard time around York - leaflets ripped up by disgruntled voters - that sort of thing. Good.