MPs join fight to halt rail cuts

On track: Unions members pictured outside Preston Railway Station, on a previous protest about changes to ticket prices
On track: Unions members pictured outside Preston Railway Station, on a previous protest about changes to ticket prices
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More than 50 MPs have joined the fight against cuts to rail jobs and services bound up in the Government’s proposals for the future of the Northern and Trans-Pennine Express franchises.

The news comes as the rail union RMT is gearing up for a lobby of Parliament next week.

The union is holding a series of events across the area served by Northern and Trans-Pennine Express, aimed at persuading more MPs to sign up to an early day motion rejecting the cutbacks as the campaign of opposition gathers pace.

Last month, RMT launched a new postcard campaign, claiming that the abolition of a wide range of off-peak fares is a taste of what’s to come under the new Northern and Trans-Pennine Express franchises.

RMT has blasted the franchise moves as “a kick in the teeth for the travelling public and staff alike.”

Officials say it is vital that the community stands alongside rail workers in “the fight to stop the destruction of rail services right across the North”.

On November 4, trade unionists from across Northern and Trans-Pennine Express, along with supporters from the community, will take their case against the franchise plans in a major lobby of MPs in Westminster.

RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said: “RMT is delighted that we now have more than 50 MPs on board with our campaign to stop the attacks outlined in the Government and Rail North proposals for rail services that serve millions of people coast to coast, right across the North.

“We will be working flat out to get more signed up as we build for the lobby of Parliament.

“The fight to stop the outrageous carve up of jobs and services under the Northern and Trans-Pennine Express franchise plans is gathering pace by the day and is sending out the clearest possible message to the Government and Rail North that they need to scrap this attack on transport services.

“On November 4, we will be taking that message to the doorstep of the politicians who can halt this scandalous assault on the North in its tracks.

“Let’s not forget that the core of the Government’s future plans for Northern and TPE is to axe jobs, restrict services, throw the guards off the trains and jack up fares while capacity to meet surging rail demand in the area is left to stagnate.

“That attack on the fare-paying public has already begun with the abolition of a wide range of off-peak fares and only an all-out and coordinated fight can stop the savage assault on rail in the North.”

The Government has previously said the region’s rail network will benefit from electrification and upgrades over the next five years.