No to European Commission’s proposals on market pillar of 4th railway package

8 Oct 2014

Today, Wednesday 8 October 2014, the European Transport Ministers are discussing the so-called political pillar of the 4th Railway package. The Ministers will discuss the Commission’s proposal for market opening of national rail passenger services, for submitting all rail passenger public services to competitive tendering and for further restrictions and splitting up integrated railway companies.

In parallel with the meeting of the European Transport Ministers, the European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF) is organising a protest action, a picket line at Kirchberg in Luxemburg, to demand the rejection of the Commission’s proposals.

The ETF will hand over a petition to the European Transport Ministers with the following demands:

  • No cherry picking on profitable railway lines to the detriment of an integrated and area-wide offer of public passenger services for the people. No open access competition for domestic rail passenger services.
  • No further strangling of integrated rail companies. Respect different organisational models. The most successful railways are integrated railway systems. Preserve the internal labour market that offers perspectives, for example to those railway workers with safety relevant tasks who are not able to carry out their job anymore due to health reasons.
  • No compulsory tendering of rail public passenger services across Europe. Respect the freedom of choice of competent authorities on how to organise their public services, which is guaranteed by Protocol 26 of the EU Treaty.
  • Don’t make public transport workers and their jobs subject to competition; don’t allow a race to the bottom on working conditions when public transport services are tendered. Ensure a social level playing field for all competitors and ensure job security for workers by a compulsory transfer of staff in the case of change of operator.

“We do not want to see the railway sector turned into another opportunity for private actors to make profits” stresses Sabine Trier, ETF Deputy General Secretary. “Europe needs affordable, accessible, quality railway services for the people. The 4th Railway Package will not bring any of this. There is a direct link between the quality of services and the quality of jobs: enhanced competition will inevitably lead to cost-cutting measures, increasing the pressure on working conditions and on employment.”

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