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FirstGroup Plans 'Hard Evidence' Of Need For Public Ownership

1 July 2019

TSSA General Secretary, Manuel Cortes, has said fears of job losses and asset stripping at FirstGroup were "hard evidence" of the need to put public transport in public hands

The future of the transport operator remains unclear in the wake of a hostile takeover bid and the proposed sale of First Bus services by its parent - FirstGroup.

The Aberdeen-based company is looking at selling or merging its bus division - which currently operates a fifth of all local UK bus services outside London.

First Group chair, Wolfhart Hauser, quit last week after beating off an investors’ coup spearheaded by hedge fund Coast Capital.

According to The National newspaper a spokesman has since said it had not yet been decided whether the bus division would be sold off in parts, or as a whole, adding there were no plans to move the registered office in Aberdeen “at the current time”.

Commenting, Manuel Cortes said: “What we see here is hard evidence that public transport should be run by and for the public. The breakup of key transport services at FirstGroup would be intolerable.

“The profiteers should be put back in their box – they have nothing to offer beyond their own greed. I say seriously to the Government if FirstGroup wishes to focus its business on Norther America, as it has indicated, then let it do so.

“But act now and take First's bus and rail services back in house; that is the right thing to do in order to protect jobs, services and our travel network."

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