TSSA has blasted the contract extension to beleaguered train operator Avanti West Coast as “rewarding failure” and a “missed opportunity” to bring the service into public ownership.
Avanti, which runs train services between London Euston and major cities including Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool and Glasgow, has been universally criticised for a catalogue of service failures in recent months. Cancellations, a limited timetable and restricted ticket sales have left passengers scrambling to find alternative travel arrangements and put front line staff in the firing line of passenger confusion and anger.
TSSA represents staff working in Avanti ticket offices, station roles and other roles, with many reporting high stress levels from working in an under-staffed workplace and facing customer anger at service cancellations and lack of service and ticket availability.
TSSA General Secretary, Manuel Cortes, said: “This contract extension exposes the ideological insanity of putting privatisation before services and passengers. Avanti have failed yet are rewarded for that failure with an extension to their contract.
“These vital rail services must be brought into public ownership where they can be run effectively and in the interests of passengers, staff and the taxpayer. We’ve seen private operators fail time and again, it’s time to draw a line under the failed experiment of fragmentation and privatisation of our railways.
“The last Labour government never hesitated in being services such as the East Coast mainline into public ownership when the privateers failed. David Cameron's Tories went on to privatise these services, but the repeated abject failure of the privateers led to the creation of publicly owned London North Eastern Railway, even under the Tories.
“Our members in Avanti have been put under unacceptable stress levels through the incompetence and failure of Avanti’s operations. They are taking strike action again tomorrow standing up for better jobs, pay and conditions. This contract extension will be demoralising - they deserve better and the government must act.”