Socialist Worker

Southern rail owners trouser millions in public money despite failed service

by Raymie Kiernan
Issue No. 2527

Pickets at Victoria station in London

Pickets at Victoria station in London (Pic: Guy Smallman)

The Tories’ favourite rail firm stands to pocket another £48 million despite its woeful Southern rail service.

Bosses at Govia have stung track owner Network Rail, a public company, with the bill for fines for disruption it said it wasn’t responsible for.

The company runs several rail franchises in Britain—and the bill covers all of them.

But news of bosses grabbing tens of millions of pounds more in public money will anger passengers and workers.

The company is locked in a bitter battle with Southern train guards, who struck for three days again last week.

It is also fighting other staff on its vast Govia Thameslink Railway contract for the Tory government.

Bosses have gone to war with rail unions to push through changes that attack jobs, safety and the unions. Passengers have endured mass cancellations and endemic delays, while bosses have tried to pin the blame on workers.

The Southern train guards, RMT union members, are set to strike again on 4 and 5 November and drivers in the Aslef union are balloting for strikes over their own issues. This is a critical escalation against bosses’ plans. It could hit Southern hard and needs to lead to action as soon as possible

The RMT is set to hold a national demonstration on Tuesday, 1 November, at Westminster’s Old Palace Yard from 12.30pm followed by a rally inside parliament.

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