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RMT launch campaign of resistance against ticket office cuts

RAIL workers are to launch a nationwide campaign of resistance against plans to axe 1,000 ticket offices and thousands of jobs.

RMT says if the closures go ahead they will hit vulnerable travellers the most, including elderly and disabled people and foreign visitors who do not have English as their first language.

“Without ticket offices and on-station support, huge swathes of passengers could be excluded from the railways altogether,” the union warned.

RMT, whose members are to strike on Wednesday in their continuing battle over pay and conditions, said the attack on ticket offices and workers is part of a wider assault on jobs and services across the rail industry.

The cuts are being pushed while Britain’s private rail industry is taking in excess of £500 million in profits annually and many rail bosses pocket £1m-plus pay packets, the union said.

Bosses are to carry out a “consultation” on the plan in August but have already decided to start the closures in October.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: “Ticket offices are a vital service on our railways and profit-hungry train-operating companies simply do not care about the detrimental impact it will have on vulnerable passengers and staff safety.

“We have no problem with genuine modernisation and adapting the way the modern railways work.

“But we will not allow thousands of members to meekly join Britain’s dole queues or to accept a version of fire and rehire on inferior terms and conditions.

“We will fight this every step of the way with our national rail strike and the public can help greatly by putting pressure on their local MP, telling the politicians they must oppose the closures.”

We Own It public ownership campaign director Cat Hobbs said: “Passengers want ticket offices on our railway, they want a human being they can turn to for help, not just a machine.

“Instead of abandoning passengers with a second-class service, this government should be making it easy for people to take the train.”

The ticket office campaign includes a petition at: www.megaphone.org.uk/petitions/cut-their-profits-not-our-ticket-offices, and a day of action at stations on Tuesday August 23.

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