Hertford and Stortford Labour Party Back Rail Workers and Call Out MP for Lack of Action
Hertford and Stortford Labour Party today affirmed their support for rail workers across the country and called out local Conservative MP Julie Marson for failing to encourage the Government to take responsibility for their role in the dispute, negotiate a better deal for workers, and avoid strike action.
The local Labour Party acknowledged the inconvenience caused to many people, particularly those trying to get to work, exams or hospital appointments, pointing out that the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) has actively attempted to avoid strike action, pursuing a deal with the Government and Network Rail through months of talks.
“The Government described our rail workers as heroes during the pandemic - now they want to make thousands of job cuts, close ticket offices and allow employers to undermine workers’ pay and conditions,” Councillor Carolyn Redfern, Leader of the Labour Group on East Herts District Council, said. “Contrary to the assertion that this dispute is over train drivers’ pay, it actually largely involves station and on-train staff, earning only £25-31,000 a year, while some rail network bosses have taken home pay packets of £1 million+ and rail companies have made profits of £500 million+ since the start of the pandemic. No one wants these strikes, but the proposed cuts would only allow rail companies to rake in more profit with no regard to staff or passengers.”
The RMT has revealed that over 1,000 ticket offices face an impending risk of closure under rail industry plans, making the railway less safe, secure and accessible for passengers. These closures would affect ticket offices across the entirety of Hertford and Stortford, including at Hertford East and Hertford North, Ware, St Margarets, Bishop’s Stortford and Sawbridgeworth.
Josh Dean, CLP Comms Officer and the Vice Chair of GMB London Young Workers criticised local MP Julie Marson for her lack of action and disinterest in local services, “In spite of Ms Marson’s claims to be on the side of passengers in Parliament last week, she appears to have taken no action whatsoever to encourage the Government to negotiate a better deal for rail workers, protect our local services and avoid strike action. If Ms Marson cared about passengers, then she would be fighting against job cuts in our communities, particularly those in ticket offices that would make our stations less accessible and less safe.”
More information about the dispute can be found on the RMT website.