RMT leader Mick Lynch to speak about proposed mass closure of rail ticket offices at Wigan meeting

A prominent trade union leader is returning to Wigan for a public meeting to discuss the proposed closure of railway ticket offices.
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Train operators are considering mass closures of station ticket offices after Transport Secretary Mark Harper urged them to cut costs, including the offices at Wigan North Western, Hindley and Atherton stations.

The Rail Delivery Group said staff would move out of ticket offices, adopting new “customer help” roles already in place on many parts of the railway.

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RMT general secretary Mick Lynch speaks at a meeting at Wigan Central earlier this yearRMT general secretary Mick Lynch speaks at a meeting at Wigan Central earlier this year
RMT general secretary Mick Lynch speaks at a meeting at Wigan Central earlier this year
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But the plans have drawn fierce criticism from groups representing passengers and the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT).

Wigan Trades Council and the RMT will hold a public meeting on the proposed closures at 6pm on Monday, August 14 at Wigan Central.

The main speaker will be the union’s high-profile general secretary Mick Lynch, who spoke about issues facing his members during a meeting at the same venue in January.

A trades council spokesman said: "The public announcement by the railway companies to close the ticket offices with a ridiculously short time-frame for public consultation has quite rightly led to a rise in anger by commuters, the general public, disability groups, older people and local Labour MPs, leading to the extension of consultation and a legal challenge. It is yet another indication that these private companies are only interested in shareholders’ dividends and not passenger interests.

"The RMT predicted these job cuts over a year ago and their strikes have always been about these closures as with all the other issues they are

concerned with like pay, redundancies and a quality public service.

"While local Labour MPs now get behind the fight to stop the closures, they must also support the RMT and their fight for an adequately resourced, passenger-orientated national railway system that meets the needs of the public and not the shareholders. Maintaining ticket offices is part and parcel of the RMT’s action, not an issue that that can be pigeon-holed as a separate concern.

"The public meeting is called to maintain pressure on the railway companies to halt the closures and give support to the RMT in their continued action to fight for a nationally operated public service that puts its workers and passengers at the heart of the system, not profiteering.”

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