Belfast Telegraph

Unions step up campaign to renationalise the railways

A campaign to renationalise the railways will be stepped up today as a way of ending the "chaos" gripping the industry.

The TUC Congress in Brighton is set to back public ownership and offer support to guards involved in a long running dispute with Southern Railway.

In a scathing attack on Southern's owners Govia Thameslink Railways and the Government, Rail, Maritime and Transport union general secretary Mick Cash will say: "We are facing the most concerted attack on rail workers and passengers in living memory.

"The Government and train operators have declared war on the rail unions and they don't give a damn if passengers are collateral damage.

"How else can we explain the scandal that is GTR Southern, the worst performing train company in the country?

"Rammed out, late, expensive and so unpopular that passenger protests in Tory shires are a regular event. So toxic that even Tory MPs have called for the service to be nationalised.

"So corrupt that Southern were given the green light by Government to tear up the franchise agreement and create chaos by cancelling 350 trains a day.

"So rotten that instead of taking responsibility they have taken out adverts in newspapers attacking their own staff and telling lies about staff sickness, so despicable that even the rail minister resigned in shame."

Mr Cash said all buses and railways should be under public ownership.

Southern is reinstating more services next week after introducing a reduced timetable because of industrial action over the role of conductors as well as staff shortages caused by "unprecedented " levels of staff sickness.