Congress reiterates its support for renationalisation of a wholly integrated railway and for continued public ownership of London Underground.
Congress notes most of the private operators on the railway who have fleeced passengers and the taxpayer are the same operators who dominate our bus industry.
In this 100-year anniversary of the first publicly owned buses, Congress believes a publicly owned bus industry is the best way to provide affordable, accessible and regular bus services.
Congress condemns the EU’s continued drive to privatise public transport and welcomes the TUC’s support for campaigning against this agenda.
Congress notes research and passenger surveys continue to show passengers want properly staffed stations, trains and infrastructure to provide more efficient, safer and reliable services.
Congress pays tribute to transport workers for taking strike action to defend passenger services and safety and welcomes the public support for this action. Congress agrees to continue to support affiliates taking such action.
Congress congratulates the TUC and the trade unions that make up Action for Rail (AfR) for the diverse range of campaigning and research activities that have been undertaken in connection with promoting public ownership for Britain’s railways.
Of particular note is the Keep East Coast Public campaign that has sought to build community and passenger links to oppose the coalition government’s determination to privatise the one publicly owned passenger train operator just two months before the next general election. That privatisation is for politically ideological reasons alone and comes despite the success that the government-owned franchise has been able to demonstrate, leading the Office of Rail Regulation to call it the most ‘cost-efficient’ franchise. Additionally, and in stark contrast to the privately owned train operators that pay most of their profits to shareholders, East Coast reinvests all of its profits for the benefit of passengers and workers.
The success of the AfR campaign to date can be measured by the strenuous efforts that the industry’s Rail Delivery Group is now making to justify maintaining the failed privatised system without willingly recognising that it is propped up by record government investment and an annual taxpayer subsidy of £4bn, at a time when fares paid by passengers have reached absurd heights, often outstripping wage rises.
Congress welcomes Labour’s commitment to reviewing the failed franchising process. Congress believes that to safeguard passengers and taxpayer interests, lines must be taken into public ownership including as franchises expire. Congress condemns rail industry attempts to undermine political/democratic processes by threatening legal action against a future Labour government doing this.
Congress calls for:
i early and sustained discussions between affiliates and government so that transport workers can play a full role in shaping transport policy
ii the next government to introduce a Transport Act for an integrated, publicly owned transport network, supported by long-term stable funding, and consideration of big business paying their share through such measures as a Land Value Tax.
Congress calls on the General Council to:
a consider how the rail union/Action for Rail campaign can be continued beyond the 2015 general election
b continue working with affiliates, community groups and passengers to campaign for a publicly owned rail network that works in the social, economic and environmental interests of all citizens.
Mover: National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers
Seconder: Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association