'Don't make us extinct too' placard at RMT picket line. Photo: Brum SP
'Don't make us extinct too' placard at RMT picket line. Photo: Brum SP

West Midlands RMT member

The government’s decision to ditch its plans to close nearly a thousand railway ticket offices was a fantastic victory for the rail unions RMT and Aslef, and all those who campaigned to keep these vital public facilities open.

The government didn’t want the consultation to happen and tried to hurry it along over an initial period of just three weeks. After an outcry, the consultation was extended and eventually 750,000 responses were received by the transport watchdogs. 99% of respondents opposed the closures.

It is regrettable that our sister union TSSA accepted the initial proposals to change ticket office provision when they settled with the Train Operating Company (TOC) bosses back in February, which obviously emboldened the government to press ahead with its plans.

Fight to win

This U-turn is a significant victory and should give rail union members confidence that the Tories can be defeated. We cannot take our eye off our main objectives, which are to win a pay rise which counterbalances the sharp cost-of-living increase we have been subjected to, and to protect hard-won pay and conditions. RMT members at every TOC have recently returned another solid ‘yes’ vote to continue the fight, and this new mandate must now be used to launch a renewed campaign in every region and workplace.

The looming general election means we must boldly put our demands for renationalisation.