Europe’s railways to fall further into private hands with 4th railway package
GUE/NGL MEP Sabine Wils has expressed her regret following Parliament's adoption of the 4th Railway package, a pack of legislative files that pave the way for more privatisation to the detriment of both workers and passengers.
The German MEP said: “The main parts of the package are highly political and call for further liberalisation of Europe's railways, paving the way for more privatisation at the expense of workers' rights and the interests of passengers in terms of cost, safety and accessibility. Today a majority of MEPs have shown that they share the Commission's flawed logic that everything under public control must eventually be handed over to the free market.
“However, the vote result did see some gains made in terms of unbundling, meaning integrated railway companies will be protected to a certain extent, and some parts of the package are less problematic as they deal with technical issues such as harmonisation of rail gauge sizes.”
Another positive gain concerns the right to strike: an amendment that sought to attack the right to strike by making it mandatory for workers to ensure a high level of 'minimum service' in the event of a strike was rejected.
Wils continued: “Luckily the right to strike was protected; this right is the only tool workers have to create a level playing field with their employers, and they don't take the decision to use it lightly. However, our group's initiative on safeguarding good working and social standards was denounced. The GUE/NGL will continue fighting with the trade unions for democratically controlled public European railways that serve the people and the workers – not the investors.”
GUE/NGL Press Contacts:
Emily Macintosh +32 470 85 05 08
David Lundy +32 470 85 05 09
Gay Kavanagh +32 473 84 23 20
European United Left / Nordic Green Left
European Parliamentary Group