Latest Rail News

24.05.13

Staff shares must be protected – RMT

Staff could be facing financial loss as it emerges that FirstGroup could be prevented from bidding for new rail franchises.

Changes to franchising rules could require operators to hold an investment grade credit rating in order to bid. The Government is currently considering the changes to provide greater financial protection on rail franchises.

The union RMT is calling for FirstGroup’s routes to be renationalised, and staff share savings protected by Government. 13,000 workers could be potentially affected and ScotRail has already closed its buy as you earn and share save schemes.

RMT general secretary Bob Crow said: “Thousands of front line rail staff find themselves caught up in the chaos of the First Group financial turmoil for doing nothing other than trying to save some of their hard earned wages. The union will be looking closely at the marketing and selling of these schemes to staff who now find themselves facing large financial losses.

“We have ended up in a situation where employees, thinking they are in secure savings schemes, have ended up propping up the company only for the management to be reckless with that money and invest in loss making ventures which could have a major impact on our members’ salaries and pensions.

“There is speculation that as First are now regarded as a high financial risk due to a culture of cavalier mismanagement from the very top that the company could be barred from future franchises. Before this situation is allowed to career out of control the five First franchises should be renationalised with jobs, wages, pensions and our members savings protected and underwritten by the Government.”

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