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RAILWAY workers under a Labour government will have board-level representation at national level in a unified railway system, shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald said.
He told delegates at RMT’s annual congress in Manchester today that a government led by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn would create a single railway company that controls both infrastructure and train services within a single organisation.
Mr McDonald said: “This company will provide a single employer for railway staff.
“Track workers, maintenance staff, station staff, guards, drivers, signallers — and, yes, also catering and cleaning staff who are presently outsourced — all these people who make the railway work will be working for one company.
“This new publicly owned railway company will be fully publicly owned and will bring all the private franchises under public ownership.
“It will balance Britain-wide integration within a single rail company with giving real power to the devolved transport authorities in our nations and regions.
“I want the rail unions to be an integral part of rail governance, with board-level representation at national level and also top-level representation where there is devolution of certain rail governance responsibilities to nations and regions.”
Delegates were also joined by RMT parliamentary group chairman Ian Mearns, who referred to transport secretary Chris Grayling as the “secretary of state for a trail of wreckage,” in reference to his various chaotic portfolios under the Tory government.
Mr Mearns added that Mr Grayling was an “unmitigated disgrace” and said that if the Tories had any “integrity or principle” he would have been sacked.
Commenting on Mr McDonald’s proposals, RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “It is hugely significant that Andy McDonald has used the platform of RMT’s AGM to map out his plans for a publicly owned transport system that puts the workforce right at the centre.
“That is a massive change after nearly 25 years of privatisation and deregulation which has been loaded towards the interests of big business, with passengers and staff kicked to the sidelines.
“With an election now looking imminent, RMT will push our agenda for rail, buses and maritime right under the spotlight and we will fight to turn the tide on a generation of profiteering under successive governments.”
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