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Rail unions unite to launch Action for Rail campaign

2 July 2012

A new umbrella campaign – Action for Rail: People before Profit – has recently been launched as a coalition of the four rail unions with the TUC.

action-for-rail
TSSA’s national organiser (South) John Page with the RMT’s Bob Crow, TUC generas ecretary Brendan Barber and ASLEF’s vice president Tosh McDonald


Its aim is to challenge the government drive towards even greater privatisation and fragmentation of Britain’s railway network.

The launch week in May involved union activists across the country working together to get the message out to the travelling public of the threat posed by government plans. Thousands of new postcards enabling passengers to lobby their MP were handed out to commuters at railway stations. The postcard called on MPs to confirm their support for: fair fares – an end to above inflation fare rises guards and catering staff on trains keeping ticket offices open and staffing our stations investment in trains with seats for all no privatisation or break-up of Network Rail a publicly owned railway that puts people before profit.

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TSSA community organiser Sam Tarry with Polly Billington – chief adviser to Ed Miliband and Labour’s candidate to be Thurrock’s next MP

The campaign is also demanding that the government avoid future repeats of last year’s Bombardier contract fiasco and commit to proactively supporting the British train manufacturing industry.

Over a dozen public meetings were organised. At the Bristorally, newly- elected TSSA Executive Committee member BilMonteith told the audience: ‘This is a fight that affects everybody – we need to wake up to that fact.’

At the meeting in Birmingham, discussion centred on how locacommunities could fight back against plans that would lead to London Midland shutting or reducing the opening hours at 87 out of its 90 station ticket offices.

At Southend, the president of the locatrades councikick-started a debate on what campaign tactics campaigners should use to defeat the government’s agenda for the railway. It also heard about TSSA’s pioneering work earlier this year as part of the FareFaicampaign and agreed to take part in future actions.

As part of its Better Rail campaign, TSSA is encouraging almembers to get active with Action for Rail and see off the threat to the future of our railway. The Government has made clear that they won’t be taking their damaging changes to Parliament for democratic approval, which would lead to a nationapublic debate. Instead, service cuts and privatisation are to be arranged behind closed doors, in the secrecy of franchise negotiations. This leaves it up to trade unions and the communities our railways serve to make our opposition clear and defeat these plans.7

Take part in Action for Rail To get involved and lobby your MP see www.actionforrail.org To order copies of the postcard for your branch or workplace, emaicampaigns@tssa.org.uk

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