The Socialist

The Socialist 3 January 2018

Widening wealth gap, increase in poverty¬Ömake the fat cats pay

The Socialist issue 976

2018: more upheavals loom


Tory prescription for mental illness: stress and bureaucracy

The Socialist inbox


Widening wealth gap, increase in poverty...make the fat cats pay

Mobilise against rip-off executive pay

Rail: fares up, bosses' pay up - delays and cancellations up

Thousands live in tents and sheds - seize empty homes

Heart unit rescued by campaigning saves baby with pioneering surgery

NHS in winter crisis as Branson creams off £1bn


Blairite council 'all ears' to rich property developers

Stop the rotten redevelopment plan, demand residents

Housing victory for Sussex students

Leeds: temporary reprieve for playing fields

Bradford protest against children's service cuts

Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition conference


Equal sick pay rights for staff at Charlton Park Academy

Newham: school strike solid against academy

Fire service victory

Leeds college pay protests


Catalan elections: PP humiliated

 
 
 
 
 

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Rail: fares up, bosses' pay up - delays and cancellations up

Nationalise rail now!

Cut Fares - Not Staff! Carlisle Socialist Party members join RMT and Carlisle Trades Council members outside Carlisle Citadel station on Tuesday 2nd January 2018, photo Craig Johnston

Cut Fares - Not Staff! Carlisle Socialist Party members join RMT and Carlisle Trades Council members outside Carlisle Citadel station on Tuesday 2nd January 2018, photo Craig Johnston   (Click to enlarge)

Paul Callanan, Greenwich and Bexley Socialist Party

Rail companies are ringing in the new year by inflicting yet more misery on long-suffering commuters. Fares have gone up another 3.4%. With wages only up by 2.5% this means travel continues to get more costly for workers.

Commuters in Britain now pay up to five times as much of our wages in fares as our fellow workers in other parts of Europe, according the TUC. Since the Tories came to power in 2010 season ticket prices have jumped 32%, Labour has found.

The government and rail bosses claim the increases are to cover the costs of huge rail infrastructure and improvement projects, as well as operating costs.

So, money well spent? No. 48% of all trains were late or cancelled in the five weeks up to Christmas, the Sunday Times found.

Bosses are also attempting to cut costs by removing safety-critical duties from train guards in favour of 'driver-only operation'. As well as trains being late and overcrowded, passengers are asked to pay for a service that is unsafe and inaccessible.

Seen in this light anyone would say that the government's transport policies have been an abject failure. Anyone except the fat cats who run Britain's railways.

Like Rupert Soames, chief executive of Serco, which runs the Caledonian Sleeper and part-runs Merseyrail. Soames stands to get a staggering £5.4 million if he meets performance targets.

Or Martin Griffiths, boss of Stagecoach, operator of East Midlands and partner of Virgin's East Coast and West Coast lines. He is due a huge pay-out of £2.5 million.

The bosses claim that 97% of fares are reinvested - that just 3% is profit.

Of course, parts of that 'reinvestment' go on leasing trains from private companies and paying interest on debts - making profits for other bosses. And the chief execs' massive handouts count as staffing costs.

But even if the majority of the money goes on maintenance and improvement, why should passengers and railway workers have to foot the bill for decades of underinvestment?

The railways should be nationalised, in full and immediately, with compensation paid to shareholders only on the basis of proven need. Only by taking rail out of the hands of greedy bosses can we end the great British train robbery.

On the basis of public ownership and democratic planning, state subsidies could guarantee cheap fares, good wages and decent service - not prop up 3% profit margins and executive excess for companies competing to run rail into the ground.


In this issue


New Year statement

2018: more upheavals loom


Socialist Party comments and reviews

Tory prescription for mental illness: stress and bureaucracy

The Socialist inbox


Socialist Party news and analysis

Widening wealth gap, increase in poverty...make the fat cats pay

Mobilise against rip-off executive pay

Rail: fares up, bosses' pay up - delays and cancellations up

Thousands live in tents and sheds - seize empty homes

Heart unit rescued by campaigning saves baby with pioneering surgery

NHS in winter crisis as Branson creams off £1bn


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Blairite council 'all ears' to rich property developers

Stop the rotten redevelopment plan, demand residents

Housing victory for Sussex students

Leeds: temporary reprieve for playing fields

Bradford protest against children's service cuts

Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition conference


Socialist Party workplace news

Equal sick pay rights for staff at Charlton Park Academy

Newham: school strike solid against academy

Fire service victory

Leeds college pay protests


International socialist news and analysis

Catalan elections: PP humiliated


 

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