Government “rewarding failure” on Avanti contract renewal, slams TSSA

Avanti© Pendolino - Tilting Pair

TSSA have hit out in response to reports that train operator Avanti West Coast is set to be rewarded a Government contract to run the line for a further ten years, with the rail union calling the move “a monumental insult to workers, passengers and taxpayers alike”.

The news follows mounting dissatisfaction with the train operating company, reportedly the worst performing in Britain, who go into their fourth week of service reductions between London and Manchester. Although Avanti last month attempted to inaccurately blame their spate of cancelled services on industrial action, unions and passengers were quick to point out that no action took place during the period Avanti made the allegation, instead TSSA noted “deliberate understaffing” by the operator which had led to the cuts.

General Secretary of TSSA, Manuel Cortes, commented: “If the Government award Avanti a renewed contract they are both rewarding failure and signaling to operators up and down Britain that they are allowed to run services as poorly and greedily as they like without consequence.

“In the last two years Avanti have received over 50,000 complaints, the most of any operator. They have been happy to take tax-payer handouts with one hand, pay-out generous dividends with the other, and freeze the pay of their employees who work tirelessly to keep passengers safe and services running despite Avanti’s best efforts.

“If the government had any business sense, instead of lumping the public with a failing operator for ten more years, they would bring the line into public ownership and let the country feel the benefit from absorbed profits and better services.  

“If the contract with Avanti is renewed, it will be a monumental insult to workers, passengers, and taxpayers alike. I hope whoever has the post of Transport Secretary after this week’s reshuffle will see sense.”

TSSA members attending a rally

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