ETF denounces ideological 4th railway package

30 Jan 2013

The European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF) rejects major parts of the fourth Railway Package adopted by the European Commission today, Wednesday 30 January 2013. In particular, the ETF denounces the introduction of compulsory competitive tendering for all rail public passenger transport services and the liberalisation of all other domestic rail passenger services, the so-called open access competition. The ETF decisively rejects as well the total separation of infrastructure management and operations.

Commission adopts unbalanced package which ignores the social dimension

The ETF is of the opinion that compulsory tendering disregards completely the right of the Member States to decide how to organise public transport services that is guaranteed by Protocol 26 of the Lisbon Treaty. Furthermore, open access competition only promotes cherry picking on the profitable lines to the detriment of a good and balanced network offer inspired by the principles of universality and accessibility of the railway services.

President of the ETF Railway Section, Guy Greivelding, stated: “We criticise in particular that competition in public rail passenger transport will become compulsory for all EU Member States but social conditions and protection of staff will be left to the decision of the local authorities without any obligation. The European Commission confirms once more its ideological approach: a yes to market opening but no to the protection of workers’ social conditions.

The ETF welcomes the Communication on on-board staff competences but regrets that no concrete legislative proposal was made. ETF Deputy General Secretary, Sabine Trier, declared in this respect: “Well trained conductors are fundamental for safety and security in railway services. They have important safety tasks and they play a crucial role in preventing aggressions and incivilities on board passenger trains. Their jobs must be maintained and their competences recognised.

ERA as watchdog for railway safety

With regard to the new competences for the European Railway Agency (ERA), the ETF insists that ERA shall be the watchdog for railway safety in a liberalised and fragmented rail market rather than becoming the agent only pushing for more competition. European homologation for locomotives can be accepted by the ETF only under the condition that the health and safety at work standards for locomotive drivers are harmonised on the bases of the highest health and safety standards. “ETF does not accept a race to the bottom”, says Sabine Trier.

For further information, please contact ETF Deputy General Secretary, Sabine Trier – Tel: +32(0)477.51.28.14; e-mail: s.trier@etf-europe