TSSA General Secretary, Manuel Cortes, has hailed as a "welcome and positive step" news that the Welsh Government will bring rail services into the public sector from February next year.
Ministers in Cardiff have confirmed that passenger services across Wales will be run directly by Transport for Wales (TfW), blaming falling passenger numbers as a result of the pandemic.
Since May 2018 trains in Wales have been run by a joint venture between Keolis, a subsidiary of France’s SNCF, and engineering contractor Amey. The two companies will continue to be responsible for tracks and other rail infrastructure.
Commenting, Manuel Cortes said: “This is a welcome and positive step from the Welsh Government, which will put our railways back in public hands and again shows the abject failure of privatisation.
“Frankly the game is up for the failed franchising model and it’s now time to re-name the Operator of Last Resort - the Operator of First Choice.
“What this terrible pandemic has shown is our railways are vital to the wellbeing of all our citizens. Keeping trains running has ensured our frontline NHS workers get to work and save lives, while also allowing medical supplies, food and other essential goods to be transported.
“It was regrettable that Welsh Ministers chose to privatise ten per cent of Wales’ infrastructure earlier this year. Frankly there can be no short cuts when it comes to maintenance and we will continue to fight for this to also be in public hands.
“Our union will now be looking for an early meeting with TfW to discuss how the new arrangements will work in practice. Ministers must honour existing terms and conditions of all staff and their trade union recognition rights. We trust that they will also work with us on maintaining the travel facilities our members now enjoy.”