Trains has declared its intention to slash 480 jobs on its operations. SWT’s
parent company is Stagecoach, which is owned by the hugely wealthy Brian Souter.
For years winning a franchise to run
one of the train operating companies has been a license to print money. Profit really
comes from the fares paid by passengers and the government subsidies, handouts
from taxpayers. Now that recession is here, passenger numbers are set to fall.
The railway companies are feeling the pinch. They have decided to make their
staff take the burden of the fall in revenue.
The Rail, Maritime and Transport
Union (RMT) has pointed out that SWT’s parent company Stagecoach has taken huge
profits out of the industry and had recently increased its shareholders’
dividend by 33.3%.
RMT secretary Bob Crow said,
"These privateers are supposed to be running a public service, but as soon
as their massive profits come under threat the first people to suffer are the
people who actually do the work.
"There is no way that SWT can
cut these jobs without affecting the quality of service that passengers receive
and putting a greater burden on the workforce that remains.
"These cuts represent a kick in
the teeth to rail workers and passengers alike and RMT will resist compulsory
redundancies with every means at its disposal," Bob Crow said.
Gerry Doherty, leader of the
Transport Salaried Staffs Association, said the decision was
"outrageous". "They have seen record profits last year and this
is yet another way of maintaining those profit levels," he said. "We shall
fight any attempt at compulsory job losses."
A leaked memo revealed that SWT has
been cutting the length of nearly 100 trains a day to save money. So the other
people who will get it in the neck from SWT’s economies are the long suffering
The unions are determined to resist
redundancies. SWT passengers will be cheering them on.