Wigan railway workers head to protest

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WIGAN rail workers are joining a lobby to secure train jobs.

Members of the town’s branch of the RMT union are supporting Action for Rail campaigners to protest at a train operators’ conference in Manchester next Thursday as the West Coast franchise fiasco rumbles on.

Transport unions and supporters from the community will be taking a protest against the McNulty rail review cuts to jobs and services, and the campaign for renationalisation of Britain’s railways, to a conference organised by the train companies on September 27 at the very heart of Britain’s busiest rail route.

They are pledging to get their message across to the ATOC Interchange and Integrated Transport Conference’s keynote speaker, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport Norman Baker, at the Place Hotel-based event in Piccadilly.

The Action for Rail lobby will assemble outside the venue at 8.30am.

The protest comes as the “botched” tendering of the West Coast franchise has left neither staff nor passengers knowing who will be running the key transport artery come December 9 as First and Virgin slug it out in the courts and unions push for the line to be taken back into public ownership.

It also comes as latest opinion polls show that in the wake of the West Coast fiasco 70 per cent of the British people now support the call for rail renationalisation.

A spokesman for Wigan Branch RMT said: “As the fiasco on the West Coast drags on towards deadline day those same greedy train operators who have created this mess with the connivance of the Government will be meeting in Manchester to look at ways of milking even fatter profits out of our transport services.

“We will be there to ram home the point that the vast majority of the British people want the whole money-making racket of privatisation swept away.

“West Coast staff will be joined by other rail workers and their supporters as we send out the message that the Government must ditch the McNulty cuts to jobs and safety and the rip-off fares that are part and parcel of the same poisonous, profiteering package.”