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Rail and bus privateer excited by coronavirus shareholders’ bonanza, RMT says

RAIL and bus privateer FirstGroup is looking forward to a shareholders’ bonanza during the coronavirus pandemic, transport union RMT said today.

The FTSE 250 transport firm, which regularly receives millions in public subsidies, has been caught out crowing about the virus representing “exciting times” and the “potentially real deliverables” to be cashed in.

RMT expressed “disgust and dismay” at the company’s determination to maximise profits from a lethal pandemic.

During a conference call with FirstGroup investors and shareholders on March 11, FirstGroup chairman David Martin said: “At the moment, in my experience, this is one of the most exciting times, with potentially real deliverables there and money standing behind it.

“We are all in violent agreement, is the only thing I can say.

"Everybody is on the same page in the one direction of maximising shareholder value and providing the ability to create substantial returns to shareholders in the short term, or within the second half of this year.

"That’s our plan of action, we’re extremely robust about it, and we're looking forward to moving forward.”

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “FirstGroup executives are crowing over shareholders’ payouts for this year, all ultimately courtesy of the taxpayer.

“This is appalling stuff even by the standards of the privatised rail and bus industry.

“While rail and bus workers are putting their lives on the line to keep Britain moving, FirstGroup are looking to line their pockets.

"This kind of behaviour shames Britain and makes the case for a new, publicly-owned transport system even stronger.”

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