The Fourth Railway Package is a new set of regulations coming out of the European Commission that aims to impose privatisation on domestic rail passenger services in every EU member state.
The proposals will make the competitive tendering of rail passenger services mandatory. And it will enforce the separation of train operation from infrastructure management, the split that has led to so much fragmentation, inefficiency and cost in the UK.
What’s the problem?
Currently, on the whole, every EU state has the freedom to choose which way it wants to run its passenger rail services. These measures will remove that freedom, imposing a model of fragmentation and privatisation that has been an abject failure in the UK.
This will remove any chance of a future UK government establishing alternative ways of delivering our railways. It will make it impossible to run a successful and publicly owned railway such as we currently see on the East Coast Main Line.
Any political successes we make in promoting the case for public ownership on our railways will come undone by EU regulations.
What can you do about it?
Email your MEP and let them know that you want them to oppose the Fourth Railway Package in the European Parliament.
The Labour Party recently voted against this package in Westminster. We want to see UK MEPs do the same in Brussels.
I am the TUC's Senior Policy Officer for Public Services and lead the TUC's work on the joint union All Together for the NHS campaign. I've worked at the TUC for 10 years covering public services, transport and civil society. Before joining the TUC I worked for the Mayor of London as well as several years in the civil service. I’ve been an active rep for both PCS and UNISON, and was also a founder member of Justice for Colombia.