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RMT chief warns of possible industrial action over pension fears

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A union has warned that rail staff could be forced to take industrial action, should pensions be threatened after Stagecoach was banned from bidding for franchises.

Stagecoach was banned from bidding for train franchises last week by the Department for Transport (DfT), as they refused to take on the full historic pension liabilities of railway workers.

Last week Sir Richard Branson the boss of Virgin has said his train business could disappear from the UK, after Stagecoach was banned by the DfT from three franchise bids.

Sir Richard said he was “devasted” by the disqualification, Stagecoach own 49% of Virgin trains.

Mick Cash, general secretary of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) is expected to say on Monday to the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) that they situation “lays bare” over the problems around privatisation of the UK’s railways.

Cash is to say, “The fiasco over Stagecoach and Virgin being banned from the franchise lottery because they refuse to underpin ‎their pension obligations has laid bare the chaos of privatisation and has left RMT members, including many in Scotland, facing a period of deep uncertainty.

“That scandalous situation has to be brought to an end as a matter of urgency.

“RMT has made it clear that any threat to our members’ pensions, jobs or working conditions as a result of a politically driven privatisation crisis they are not responsible for will be met with co-ordinated and robust action.”

Cash is further expected to reiterate calls for the renationalisation of railways in Scotland at the conference.

The general secretary is to say, “In Scotland, there is no excuse for allowing the privatisation racket to continue any longer. ScotRail should be taken into public ownership and run as a public service in the interests of safe, secure and reliable services for all.

“The Scottish political establishment need to face up to both that reality and their own obligations and take the decisive action required.”




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