Day of action in Walsall to protest against railway ticket office closures

Railway workers will be campaigning outside Walsall Railway Station's ticket office on Tuesday, to alert passengers to the threat facing their local ticket offices.

RMT general secretary, Mick Lynch, has campaigned against the closure of ticket offices. Photo: Stefan Rousseau, PA Wire.
RMT general secretary, Mick Lynch, has campaigned against the closure of ticket offices. Photo: Stefan Rousseau, PA Wire.

It comes as part of an RMT day of action on Tuesday, in response to the Government and rail industry’s plans to close nearly all ticket offices around the rail network.

RMT General Secretary Mick Lynch said: "The floodgates have now opened for the annihilation of ticket offices.

"Ticket office staff make sure our railways are safe, secure and accessible. Wholesale ticket office closures would be disastrous and leave our railway deserted.

"Disabled and elderly passengers will be particularly affected."

Campaigners will be at ticket stations across the country on Tuesday. In the Midlands, this includes Walsall, Birmingham New Street, and Birmingham Snow Hill.

In London, there will also be campaigning at Euston and King's Cross railway stations.

RMT members, reps and activists will be alerting passengers to the threat to their local ticket offices and asking them to join in the campaign to protect ticket offices.

They are striving to send a clear message to the Government and train companies - that passengers value ticket offices and want to see them protected.

A spokesman for the union added: "RMT believes that ticket office closures are about protecting the profits of train companies by further de-staffing the rail network.

"If these damaging plans go ahead, the railway will be less safe, secure and accessible."

The day of action is also being supported by the campaign group We Own It, an independent organisation which campaigns against privatisation and for 21st century public ownership.

A spokesperson for the group said: "Rail workers are standing up for a railway that works for workers and passengers - not for the profits of private companies.

"The RMT is not just fighting to protect the pay and conditions of their members, the workers who make our railways tick every day.

"They are also fighting to make sure that our ticket offices stay open to help passengers have the smoothest journeys possible. And we are joining forces with them in that fight on Tuesday.

"It was revealed last month that the government has secret plans to close almost 1000 ticket offices across the country.

"We could save a billion pounds every year from taking our railway into public ownership, yet instead of taking our trains into public ownership and reinvesting profits into cutting ticket prices and keeping ticket offices open, the Government is protecting private companies and cutting facilities passengers depend on instead.

"We know that the public is not on board with the privatisation of our railway.

"Our brand new poll, conducted by Survation, with a huge sample size of 4300, shows that 67 per cent of the public want our railway in public ownership compared to just 21 per cent who want it to be left in private hands.

"Even Conservative voters support public ownership of our railway by a margin of 63 per cent for to 25 against.

"We are coming together with the RMT on Tuesday to fight the government’s plan to close our ticket offices - and you can get involved."

A West Midlands Railway spokesperson said: "No decisions have been taken on the future of ticket offices. At a national level, the rail industry and Government are considering how staff at railway stations can help passengers in the most efficient and effective way possible.”

Campaigners will be at Walsall station from 7.30am to 9am on Tuesday, and at Birmingham New Street for the same time.

There will also be union members and activists at Birmingham Snow Hill from 5pm to 6pm.

To read RMT’s petition, click here.

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