Unite launches plans for radical improvements to UK transport system
- Wednesday 20 November 2019
Unite, the UK and Ireland’s largest union, has today launched a radical manifesto Transport Matters which when implemented will transform the UK’s transport network and the lives of the workers operating within it.
Transport Matters was launched today (Wednesday 20 November) at Unite’s sector conference in Brighton, with the support of Labour’s shadow secretary of state for transport Andy McDonald
The document sets out why it is essential that the government must introduce a sustainable and integrated transport network if the sector is going to meet the needs of passengers, workers and the economy in the 21st century.
In order for that to be achieved investment in transport must at least match the best international levels, recognising that for every £1 spent of government spending on transport generates £4 of benefit.
Transport Matters calls for a fundamental move away from policies of privatisation and deregulation and towards public ownership of the rail and bus networks. The ban on councils forming new bus companies should be lifted.
With regards to the safety of transport workers the document calls for the proper implementation of driving hours regulations in the UK and ending the abuse of the working time regulations by unscrupulous employers.
There also needs to be a guarantee that all professional drivers have access to clean safe toilets and washing facilities, with the funding for new facilities where they are needed.
Speaking at the launch of Transport Matters, Labour shadow secretary for transport, Andy McDonald said: “When we are talking about transport we are talking about a public service. It is about serving the public and serving our communities.”
Mr McDonald committed the next Labour government to bring the railways back under public ownership and to integrate the trains and tracks under one operator.
He also said that not only would a Labour government reinstate the 3,000 bus routes that have been cut since 2010 but they would develop thousands of new routes.
Andy McDonald added: “Buses are the most important mode of transport. If people are socially isolated this affects their mental health.”
Unite assistant general secretary Diana Holland said: “Transport Matters is a comprehensive and radical manifesto of what is needed to transform the UK’s transport system.
“Transport workers are the beating heart of the transport network, without them nothing would operate but for too long they have been overworked, underpaid and under-appreciated.
“This document looks to reverse those trends and once implemented will ensure transport workers are properly paid and their health and safety and the safety of the community is properly protected.
“The decades long pursuit of privatisation and deregulation has been a complete failure and has led to a race to the bottom. These policies must be reversed in order for our transport system to be transformed.
“An integrated efficient transport system keeps the economy moving and is essential for increasing social mobility and overcoming the sense of isolation and abandonment which many people in society, both young and old, currently experience.
“A first class transport system is essential to attract investment into the UK.”
Notes to editors:
For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Barckley Sumner on 07802 329235 or 0203 371 2067.
- Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.