RMT calls for government support for open-access operators

RMT is demanding government support for open-access train operators, including Grand Central.

As the government continues to fund the franchised train operators, at the same time stating that franchising itself, as a system, will end, the RMT trade union has called for urgent government support for open-access rail operators to avoid job losses.

Unlike the franchised train companies, the open-access operators have received no government support during the pandemic. As a result, both Grand Central and Hull Trains are proposing job cuts.

To protect its members, RMT is demanding urgent government intervention to support the open-access sector and to protect all jobs at Grand Central and Hull Trains.

Mick Cash, RMT.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “Months ago, RMT warned the government that the open-access rail operators were in need of emergency funding, yet they have received no government support throughout the pandemic.

“Passenger numbers across the railway remain far below pre-COVID levels, and both Grand Central and Hull Trains are now proposing redundancies as a result of this loss of revenue.

“I have written to the Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Shapps, to demand an urgent support package for the open-access sector to enable them to remain viable and to protect all jobs and conditions.

“RMT will take all steps necessary to protect the jobs and conditions of its members.”

In addition to Grand Central (owned by Arriva) and Hull Trains (First Group), there are two other open-access operators in the UK – Eurostar (55% owned by SNCF) and Heathrow Express (owned by Heathrow Airport).

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