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RMT to ballot over West Coast franchise ‘fiasco’

Rail union RMT is preparing for an industrial action ballot over the award of the West Coast franchise, as the Government waits to hear if Virgin Trains will be awarded a judicial review of the contract.

The DfT is preparing to take over the franchise via Directly Operated Railways if the dispute is not settled before December 9, but new transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin has defended the department’s actions over the bid.

The RMT says the ongoing confusion means workers have no idea if their jobs or terms and conditions are safe.

RMT general secretary Bob Crow said: “The fiasco over the award of the West Coast franchise has left both staff and the travelling public without a clue as to who will be running this key transport artery in little more than ten weeks time.

“It is still not out of the question that there will be no one to run it if the Government don’t stop messing about and accept that, with the clock ticking down, they need to get on with the public sector option as a matter of urgency or risk a total meltdown.

“Transfer of staff and operations cannot be done overnight and with DOR on the East Coast tried and tested it is simply the Government’s entrenched opposition to public control, even though it is now supported by 70% of the British people, that is stopping them getting on with this logical and urgent option for the West Coast route.”

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Mikey   14/09/2012 at 15:26

the whole contract award is definetly dodgy. There is for sure, a large brown envelope slipped into someones pocket on this. The amazing thing is, if first's offer is deliverable, then i'm sure that virgin would have found it. To carry more passengers rings alarm bells. There is no way thatyou can carry more unless you take the toilets out. One TOC has already done this i believe. Please take note that, First, removed all the tables from the coaches on the GWML. I'm on virgin's side. I can smell a rat

John   14/09/2012 at 15:28

What a Shambles! First Group and all the other Bus Companies are rubbish at running Rail Companies! Virgin wasn't ideal but is was vastly better than the Stagecoach / First Group / National Express People who are only interested in banking the subsidies and screwing the travelling public. One thing that the Customer does NOT need now is Union interfearence in this issue but Crowe and Co re desperate for the chance to flex "muscle" and bring the Country to Ransom to satisfy their own ends!

Groover   14/09/2012 at 16:40

Anyone who knows how the bid evaluation works will tell you that there's no room for brown envelopes. The bids are assessed by a team of markers who score them against a set of criteria using a system that is published in advance. The people who make the final award see the scores but the identities of the bidders are hidden by code names. So the process should be clean, but whether it delivers value for money is another matter altogether!

Tony C   15/09/2012 at 09:12

Don't get paramoid, if you offer to pay 20pc more for a franchise, you don't need brown envelopes. As for Branson, basically he is saying that anyone bidding less than him is got to go bankrupt, which trandslates in a)he knows better than anybody else and b) Virgin is not for profit... Millionaires !

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