Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 6 October 2021

Railway bosses cook the books in another capitalist market failure

photo El Pollock/CC

photo El Pollock/CC   (Click to enlarge)

Tom Woodcock, RMT Health and Safety Rep

In an episode of the classic Channel 4 sitcom, Father Ted claimed the money was "just 'resting' in my account" when desperately trying to explain away some financial irregularities.

It seems top bosses at one of Britain's private rail operators are trotting out the same excuse in the latest snouts-in-the-trough scandal to engulf our industry. Tory transport secretary Grant Shapps was compelled to say: "There is clear, compelling and serious evidence that for years, London and South Eastern Railway Services have breached the trust that is absolutely fundamental to the success of our railways".

Murky accounting practices have resulted in the sum of 25 million 'resting' in the accounts of Southeastern Railway instead of being paid back to the government. So bad is the stink, that the chief finance officer has resigned and the government has been forced to strip parent company Govia of its licence to run the network.

From 17 October, the company will be taken over by the government's own 'operator of last resort', in effect nationalisation - for now.

When the priority is to deliver a profit to shareholders, the temptation will always be there to cook the books at the expense of the travelling public and community as a whole. We say that the company should remain in public hands permanently, along with the rest of the rail network, run under democratic workers' control and management as part of a serious effort to change travel habits and avert environmental catastrophe.

The state comes down very hard on a worker who takes a relatively small amount of cash-in-hand work to top up their meagre benefits, or a small business person who makes a minor, honest error in their account books. The maximum prison sentence for conspiracy to defraud is 10 years.

However, it's a different story for the millionaire 'captains of industry' who are caught siphoning off millions of pounds of public money - they are allowed to simply say sorry and promise to pay the money back, as has happened to Southeastern bosses.

This is yet another example of the rotten Tory government's contempt towards the working class and its blatant inability to run our vital public transport and logistics systems. The chronic lorry driver shortage continues to threaten vital supplies following decades of underfunding, neglect and an international race to the bottom in recruitment and wages; railway bosses are preparing to mount the biggest attack in living memory on our hard-won terms and conditions; and bus drivers are having their bravery and dedication during the pandemic repaid with insulting below-inflation pay offers.

Workers fighting back

But transport workers are fighting back. While transport bosses gear up to make the working class pay for the Covid pandemic, RMT members at East Midlands Railway are striking against their employer's attempts to drive down pay and conditions along with other disputes. Unite members at Stagecoach and Arriva bus companies are balloting for strike action to demand decent pay rises.

There's an old saying: 'You can't control what you don't own'. Therefore, socialists say that the only way that our transport system can be properly planned, and workers' jobs, pay and conditions improved and protected in the long term, is for the whole system to be nationalised under democratic workers' control and management. That way, every penny invested in our transport system will deliver a real improvement to society, instead of simply ending up 'resting' in someone's bank account.

Donate to the Socialist Party

Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • We must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our Fighting Fund.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation


Your message: 


In The Socialist 6 October 2021:

What we think

Bakers' union disaffiliates from Labour


Sarah Everard trial reveals police abuse of power

Tories plunge millions further into poverty with Universal Credit cut

Capitalist climate hypocrisy

Railway bosses cook the books in another capitalist market failure

Glasgow's equal pay battle set to re-erupt

Pay NHS and care staff to address worker shortages

Workplace news

NEU: National executive agrees campaign on pay

Coordinated FE strike against measly pay offer

Unison LG members reject insulting pay offer

Unite health members say no to 3% and vote for action

Tesco warehouse rep fighting for reinstatement

Scunthorpe steel scaffolders strike for pay rise

Brighton waste workers walk out


Capitalism's economic instability in the 'new normal'

Youth Fight for Jobs

Fighting for our future

Youth Fight for Jobs - why we're marching on 9 October

Ten years since our 330-mile Jarrow March for Jobs

Campaigns news

Barking NHS: "Sorry, please try again later"

We have the right to breathe fresh air

Nottingham: Punish Labour for cruel cuts

London protest for Texas abortion rights

North West socialists join march against Tory conference

Fighting Fund target smashed - 31,703 raised


Obituary - Dave Hardaker, 1952-2021


Caffeine and capitalism - a symbiotic relationship


Home   |   The Socialist 6 October 2021   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook

Related links:


triangleUSA: Right-wing vigilante Rittenhouse acquitted - capitalist courts will not defend the working class!

triangleChina: Bureaucracy grapples with new crises

triangleSunak's climate finance agenda typifies capitalism's COP26 failure

triangleTen years on - where has Podemos's radicalism gone?


triangleContainer delay carnage makes the case for socialist planning

triangleEnergy market chaos makes the case for nationalisation

triangleStop the Channel 4 sell-off!

triangleNHS white paper: no solution to failed Tory policies


triangleHS2 eastern route cancelled: Fight for a workers' plan for public transport

triangleSave jobs and services - nationalise rail

triangleBirmingham Clean Air Zone a tax on the poor


triangleSupport uni workers' walk-out on pay and pensions

triangleTesco warehouse workers ballot for strike action


triangleHistoric victory of India's farmers


triangleSlough: Adult service cuts will leave vulnerable homeless


triangleRMT to strike in night-tube dispute

News and socialist analysis

News and socialist analysis



Workers' action can defeat weak and divided Tories


Violence against women

End sexism and violence against women



The struggle for accessible workplaces and an inclusive society



Cricket's history of racism and elitism



Working class strangled by price rises and pay cuts



HS2 eastern route cancelled: Fight for a workers' plan for public transport



Tories hammer nail in pensions triple lock coffin



Tories responsible for NHS staff shortages



Tory sleaze scandal continues, an ex-workers' MP responds


Climate change

Youth fight for well-paid green jobs and socialist change



Cuts drag NHS to brink



NHS workers must take action now to save our NHS



Outsourced Barts health workers in strike ballot for a pay rise



Health and care staff shortages worsened by Tory vaccine sacking threat



London MPs' second home swindle while workers and students struggle

triangleMore News and socialist analysis articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: [email protected]

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 075 4018 9052

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 077 7221 5281

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 078 0983 9793



Alphabetical listing

November 2021

October 2021

September 2021

August 2021

July 2021

June 2021

May 2021

April 2021

March 2021

February 2021

January 2021