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Labour conference review: Public ownership has huge support

1 October 2014

Labour Party conference once again endorsed a TSSA-led motion on our railways, slamming the franchising model and calling for the public sector to be able to take on lines as franchises expire.

Watch TSSA's General Secretary Manuel Cortes and Darlington Labour Party's Helen Crumbie propose the rail motion to Labour Party conference:

The motion, which was overwhelmingly endorsed, resolves that:
• the franchising model and the lack of coherent strategic management across the network and rail services means that profit from the train companies is put before the interests of passengers.
• Labour will always act in the public interest, with the public sector running lines if this, on a level playing field, provides best value for passengers and taxpayers.

The huge standing ovation that Manuel's speech received shows the real appetite amongst Labour members for our railways to come back in to public ownership.

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Rail was again one of the hot topics of the conference, with a range of very well attended fringe meetings. Dozens of delegates and union activists attending a session organised by the cross-union Action for Rail campaign, which saw union leaders, including TSSA's Andi Fox, RMT's Mick Cash and ASLEF's Mick Whelan put their views across very clearly to Shadow Transport Secretary Mary Creagh.

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TSSA Executive Committee member and our representative on Labour's Executive shared her experiences as a member of staff on East Coast, stressing how the success of the company has shown how the Tories obsession with private ownership - albeit often by firms owned by other country's public rail operators - ignores reality.

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TSSA, in partnership with news website LabourList then hosted a packed rally for public ownership, stressing how the policy would be a strong 'vote winner' for Labour. Daily Mirror associate editor Kevin Maguire chaired the session which saw speeches from Jon Cruddas MP, TSSA member Nancy Platts (who is Labour's candidate for Brighton Kemptown), ASLEF General Secretary Mick Whelan, Katy Clark MP, candidate for Crewe Dr Adrian Heald, transport commentator and London mayoral hopeful Christan Wolmar and Shadow Minister for London Sadiq Khan.

Shadow Cabinet member Maria Eagle also gave an excellent speech, showing how she remains on top of the transport issues that an incoming Labour government will have to tackle. TSSA exec member Andi Fox and Manuel Cortes drove home the point that Labour should put people before profit and pledge public ownership of rail in its manifesto.

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The Daily Mirror's Kevin Maguire

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TSSA member and Labour candidate for Brighton Kemptown, Nancy Platts

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Shadow Cabinet member Maria Eagle, very clearly up to date on the major issues facing our railway.

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