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TSSA calls for rail unions to be involved in 'Business North' plans

1 February 2016

TSSA leader Manuel Cortes calls on the government and CBI not to shun unions when drawing up their 'Northern Powerhouse' plans

Rail union leader Manuel Cortes is calling on Northern business leaders to give transport unions a seat at the table of their new organisation Business North.

He is proposing a new collaboration between rail unions and business leaders to finally drive forward the delivery of faster rail links across the North. 

Business North will be launched in Leeds tonight (Monday 1 February) as a joint initiative between Northern business leaders and the CBI following concerns from businesses across the region that Chancellor George Osborne's talk of a Northern Powerhouse has run out of steam.

Establishing high speed rail connections between the North's cities is reported by today's Financial Times to be the new organisation's top priority. 

"We in the TSSA feel the pain of Northern business leaders who have vested much time, effort and good faith in George Osborne's over-hyped but under delivery on the Northern Powerhouse," said Cortes.

"And we support their decision to now try and take matters into their own hands and drive forward the timetable for delivery faster rail connections between northern cities as a matter of priority.

"Obviously we in rail unions support the expansion of railways - not just because we love rail - but because we get that railways are a public good and are they are drivers of economic expansion and job creation.

"We also have a vast reserves of knowledge amongst our members and a proven track record in the actual actually delivery of rail services.

"In the interests of finally getting Northern cities properly and smoothly and quickly connected I'd like to invite Business North to give rail union experts a seat at their table as they go forward.

"Great leaps come about because of great collaborations and rather than shun unions, we need business leaders to work with rail unions to speed up the progress of faster rail links in the North. We share their concern on this.  

"No one argues that the economic progress we all want for the North now depends on  harmonious integration of the railways and to that end I would also like to enlist the support of the CBI and Business North for the rail unions campaign to oppose the sell-off of Network Rail which will further undermine any economic recovery strategy for the  North by fragmenting not enhancing service reliability, making our already high rail fares even more expensive and so diminishing efficient rail links and prospects for inward investment to the North still further.

"Business North is having a timely launch, I wish them well and will be contacting them to offer assistance and collaboration where possible in the coming months."




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