Call to action 17 June: Defend public safety, accessbility and jobs threatened by new Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern rail franchise

Action for Rail and coalition partners are planning actions at stations along the Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern (TSGN) franchise on 17 June, to protest against government plans to rush through formation of this new super franchise, which threatens public safety, accessibility and jobs.

Government plans could lead to driver-only operated trains, the axing of all guards, fewer staff at stations and loss of train repair staff. This means a less safe railway with little or no assistance for disabled and elderly people, and the safety of women travelling at night could be put at risk. Job security and working conditions of remaining staff remain unclear.

The services covered under the TSGN franchise charge some of the highest fares and are some of the busiest in the UK. The government has recently awarded the contract to one operator – Govia, 35 per cent of which is owned by French state railways, which will receive the profits. We are determined to raise our voices in opposition and call on the government to stop these staffing cuts.

The franchise is a bad deal for taxpayers. Last year alone, taxpayers provided £120m more to Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern train operators than was received in payments from them. At the same time, these operators gave shareholders around £20m in dividends.

We are campaigning for a publicly-owned railway system that provides a quality service, protects jobs and gives a fair deal to taxpayers. On June 17, we will be calling on the government and the train company to stop cuts to staffing and protect public safety.

We will also be gathering outside the offices of Go Ahead, 4 Matthew Parker Street, Westminster, London SW1H 9NP, from 9.15am – 9.45am. Go Ahead owns 65 per cent of Govia.

Please write to your MP asking to sign EDM 108, which calls on the government to review the franchise and protect passenger services and jobs in the new TSGN franchise.

If you would like to organise an action at any of the stations covered in the new franchise, please get in touch with us – actionforrail@tuc.org.uk

View: Department for Transport TSGN map with selected stations

Confirmed stations:

London Victoria (Terminus Place, outside Superdrug) – 7.45am – 8.45am

London King’s Cross – 8am – 9.15am

London St Pancras – 7.30-8.00am

London Farringdon – From 7.30am

Three Bridges (Sussex) – From 7.30am – 9.30am

Peterborough – 8am – 9.15am

Stevenage – 7am – 9am

Enfield Chase (London) – 7am – 9am

Crawley (Sussex) – From 7am

Bexhill (Sussex) – 7am – 9am

St Leonards Warrior Square (St Leonards, Sussex) – 7.30am – 9am

Brighton – 7am – 9am