Unions unite against EU rail sell-off

Workers from across Europe take to the streets of Strasbourg against EU plans to sell off the continent’s railways

MEPs in Strasbourg were discussing the Fourth Railway Package, which would force governments to let privateers bid on rail services and separate train operations from infrastructure.

It would impose rip-off rail franchising across Europe and let companies gobble up even more of Britain’s network.

“This rail package demands that the disastrous rail privatisation experiment that started in Britain 20 years ago is now imposed on the rest of the EU,” RMT general secretary Bob Crow said.

“As a result of this EU business model, Britain now has the highest rail fares in Europe, a culture of cuts and profiteering and the growing use of contract labour and zero-hour contracts.”

It would also make it impossible for any British government to challenge privatisation.

“We have real concerns that if these proposals are adopted future UK governments will be unable to create a publicly owned railway that puts passengers and public first, like the successful East Coast Main Line,” said TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady.

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