VIDEO: Doncaster railmen protest over privatisation

Rail union workers staged a protest at Doncaster station to gather public support for their campaign to stop the East Coast Mainline being privatised again.

Passengers arriving and departing from Doncaster were met by about 20 RMT members handing out leaflets condemning the proposed sell-off of the route between King’s Cross and Scotland.

RMT rail protest at Doncaster train station. Picture: Russ Newton

RMT rail protest at Doncaster train station. Picture: Russ Newton

They said they had had a ‘good response’ from the travelling public, some of whom were not aware of the position.

RMT regional organiser Dave Collinson said: “When you tell people how things are and that the East Coast Main line is making a profit since it was taken back intop public opwnership, they can’t understand why it’s being privatised again.

“The current operation is putting money into the Government’s coffers but the Tories and Lib-Dems are still hell bent on privatising again to make money for shareholders.”

Mr Collison said the bvenefits of keeping the operating company out of private hands would be lower fares, higher safety standards and job security for the staff, and people woudl be paying less in taxes because of the money flowing back to the Treasury.

The protest at Doncaster was one of several up and down the East Coast Main Line and more are planned next month, the next to coincide with Yorkshire Day on August 1.

They handed out 1,500 cards which they want passengers to send to their MP asking them to support public ownership of the route.

“Doing nothing is not an option,” said Mr Collinson.

Research by a transport think tank, Transport for Quality of Life, has found that payments by the publicly owned Intercity East Coast rail service to the government from Directly Operated Railways have significantly outstripped those paid by the other two Intercity services, privately operated First Great Western and Virgin West Coast.

The report, commissioned by the RMT, found that over the period since East Coast has been in public ownership under Directly Operated Rail since 2009, payments to the government have averaged twice those made by Virgin and three times those of Great Western.

A new opinion poll has also found that only one in four people support the government’s policy to privatise East Coast while, while 6 out of 10 believe the service should remain in public ownership.

RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said: “It defies belief that with this new research showing clearly that almost a billion pounds could have been saved if West Coast and Great Western had been run in public hands that the Government would even dream of re-privatising the East Coast Mainline.

“RMT will continue to fight not only to keep the East Coast in public ownership but to renationalise the entire network, ending the great rail rip-off once and for all.”