West Midlands Rail Takeover - What Will It Mean For Brummies?

December 10, 2017

By an RMT and Socialist Party member in Birmingham

London Midland will vanish from the face of the earth at 1.59am on 10 December.

My train operating company is being taken over by a consortium of companies headed by Abellio which is the foreign arm of the Dutch state railway. Abellio also runs Scotrail, Greater Anglia and Merseyrail.

What has been known as London Midland will be split into two new identities: 'West Midlands Trains' and 'London Northwestern'.

Millions of pounds have been spent by both Govia, the outgoing owner, and Abellio in bidding for the franchise and millions will be spent by the state subsidising the operation going forward.

Abellio will of course be taking its cut and will send profits back to the Netherlands. 75% of Britain's rail operators are foreign owned today.

All of our trains will be repainted with new livery, stations will get new signage with a new logo and staff will be given new uniforms.

We have been instructed to remove all posters, stationery, umbrellas, mousemats and even LondonMidland branded mugs from kitchens.

There is an atmosphere of trepidation caused by the transition, which is not helped by the woeful lack of information provided to staff regarding their future employment.

We have already been told that some work currently done by our customer relations team in Birmingham will be transferred to a site in Scotland from day one of the new franchise. All grades and departments should be prepared for attack by the new owners.

Abellio has gained a brutal reputation from its stewardship of ScotrailMerseyrail and Greater Anglia.

At all three companies workers have taken strike action against the firm's attempts to force through driver-only operation to get rid of guards.

London Midland has so far utterly failed to engage with its recognised trade unions in any meaningful way and unions are now threatening legal action for failure to comply with TUPE regulations such as allowing reps to meet and consult members during work time. We are being kept in the dark and we are angry about it.

Abellio need to know that we are ready for a fight. As far as we are concerned they are just another bunch of spivs on the railway gravy-train who are fundamentally no different to the last bunch.

We are ready to fight to defend our jobs and conditions, for safety and against driver only operation.

The RMT has been here since long before this group of bandits and we will still be here when they've gone.

The Socialist party calls for renationalisation of the rail industry in the West Midlands and throughout the UK - not a penny more for the fat-cat profiteers!

Written by workers for workers.

The media never covers the real struggles of the working class. Instead they spread lies and misinformation. That's why we have our own newpaper and email list.

Join our email list to keep up with the latest socialist news. We share the protests, strikes, and meetings happening near you.
We are a branch of the Socialist Party, the English and Welsh section of the Committee for a Workers' International - a worldwide revolutionary socialist organisation with parties and groups in countries across the globe.
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram