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RAIL UNION RMT mounted a protest outside the Dutch Embassy today demanding that the Dutch state end their profiteering on UK railways through their Abellio outfit, which is helping to drive the moves to axe guards on Greater Anglia and Merseyrail services. The union will also be meeting the Deputy Ambassador. They were joined by MPs Grahame Morris and Dan Carden.

The union is pointing out that Dutch state owned Abellio are raking in a massive 1.4 billion Euros in revenues from their UK rail operations which the company openly admit is being used to “benefit” passengers in the Netherlands through improved services and cheaper fares. Dutch State Railways also admit that they actually invest very little but haul in massive returns from their UK operations – cash that RMT says should be used to retain guards on Greater Anglia and Merseyrail operations to keep the British travelling public safe.

Recent Dutch State Rail Annual Reports (2015 & 2016) reveal how much the Netherlands are benefiting from their UK transport operations as demonstrated by the following extracts.
“The passengers who use the train every day in the Netherlands must benefit from our achievements abroad.”
Of their overseas rail operations, including the UK, that “the capital invested “is relatively limited while a return on investment is achieved of 18%. The expectation is that this will remain the case in the future.”
“The revenue from passenger transport by rail in the United Kingdom provided by Abellio was €1,430 million in 2016.”
The union is also arguing that if Dutch State owned Scotrail can reach an agreement guaranteeing the guards on trains then so can their Greater Anglia and Merseyrail companies.

RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:
“We will be at the Dutch Embassy in London today calling for an end to the Great British Rail Rip-Off which sees Dutch state owned Abellio threatening to throw guards off their trains on Greater Anglia and on Merseyside to cuts costs and fatten up profits which are then used to improve services and hold down fares in the Netherlands. The fact that Theresa May, Chris Grayling and their rotten, minority Tory Government think that this scandal is acceptable is nothing short of a national scandal.
“Just a fraction of the eye-watering profits shipped from Britain to the Netherlands by Abellio and other overseas rail operators would be enough to keep the guard on our trains and keep the British travelling public safe. The Government claim that we don’t have the money to fund safe and accessible rail services for all is blown out the water when you look at the sheer scale of the foreign state raid on our trains.”

Responding to the statement this morning by DWP Minister David Gauke, PCS Union representing DWP workers who are tasked with delivering Universal Credit (UC) said:

Tory welfare policies are aimed at removing the social security safety net. Poverty is built into the UC system with delays of 6 weeks and often far beyond. It is unacceptable that our members will have to deliver an untested and failing system to some of the most vulnerable people in society.

The DWP is simply not ready to deliver the rollout of UC Full Service in 50 Jobcentres per month

PCS has consistently raised issues of staffing levels and delays in payments with DWP.

One of the tragedies of this situation is that public servants determined to help people into work will have the rug pulled from under their feet as claimants struggle to manage debt instead of seeking employment

Mark Serwotka PCS General Secretary responding to Gauke stated –

“Universal Credit remains a disaster because it is driven by the Tories’ political choice to cut public spending and to denigrate people who rely on social security support.

The misery being inflicted by the government’s mishandling of this disastrous programme must be stopped and the full roll-out should be suspended immediately.

The government’s arrogant refusal to listen to its own staff, experts, charities, those affected and even its own MPs shows their aim is not to help people but to cynically cut support from those who need it most.

A review of the entire project – from its impact on claimants to systemic failings, IT problems and pressures on staff – is needed before any decision is made as to whether it is fit to continue.

“Cuts to DWP staff and resources must be reversed to give the department the means to develop a system that offers genuine help.”



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