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PROTESTING rail workers condemned “corporate welfare” for “greedy train companies” today after the latest in fare increases were announced.
RMT union general secretary Mick Cash reacted angrily to the news that ticket prices will rise by 2.8 per cent next January, condemning it as a “kick in the teeth” for the travelling public, who already pay “over the odds” to use Britain’s railways.
“This is just corporate welfare for the greedy train companies,” Mr Cash said.
“The private rail racket has left Britain’s passengers paying the highest fares in Europe to travel on clapped-out and unreliable services.
“Privatisation is at odds with an affordable and sustainable rail network. We need a publicly owned and nationally integrated railway now.”
Union members protested at 32 locations across the country against this latest increase, which is set to leave regular travellers hundreds of pounds worse off.
In Leeds, more than 3,000 leaflets were given out to angry commuters in less than an hour. Local RMT branch secretary John Stewart told the Star: “The response from the travelling public says it all, really.
“These companies don’t care one iota about the people of this country. It’s about time that MPs saw what was going on and acted — and get us back towards a publicly owned nationalised railway, which is the only solution to this mess.”
Young Labour ordinary members representative Annie Maloney joined protesting workers in Leeds. She told the Star: “Even for a socialist city like Leeds, I was astonished by how angry commuters were at the latest move from Britain’s rail robber barons. Change has to surely come, and soon.”
In Harlow and Stockport, Labour prospective parliamentary candidates and Momentum activists Laura McAlpine and Navendu Mishra lend their weight to demonstrating union members.
Ms McAlpine said: “This is madness. Harlow already has the highest journey per mile travelled in the UK. Public ownership now!”
Mr Mishra told the Star: “I am proud to stand with RMT members in Stockport, who are fighting for decent jobs, affordable travel and a transport system fit for people and planet.”
Large protests also took place in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool and Edinburgh.
Tory Transport Secretary Grant Shapps MP claimed that he was “not delighted” about the price hikes, which are linked to inflation figures published today.
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