Transport union TSSA has called on rail operator Grand Central to ensure that staff affected by the abandonment of the Blackpool-London services are taken on elsewhere. The union is also calling on the government to absorb the services provided by open access operators into the government-protected rail services.
Grand Central is owned by Arriva Group, which also owns several other train companies. They announced on 10 September that planned Blackpool to London services were now “unviable” and put employees at notice of risk of redundancy.
Consultation with unions started yesterday (Wednesday) on the termination of the West Coast mainline services from Blackpool to London.
Steve Coe, TSSA Organising Director, said: “Dedicated railway staff are facing redundancy, but they could be redeployed in other parts of the railway and that is what we’re asking Grand Central to facilitate. We’ve asked the company to find other train operators to take on skilled workers and safeguard these jobs.
“We’re also calling on the government to consider taking Grand Central into LNER (London North Eastern Railway) as part of its current moves to reunifying our fragmented railway.
“Having accepted that franchising has failed, the government now needs to recognise that there is no space in our railway network for open access operators such as Grand Central. The customers, services and routes they provide must be taken into publicly-run operations so that communities from Blackpool to Sunderland do not lose out.”
TSSA has members working in on-train customer service roles and as train managers in Grand Central.