UNISON calls out "gross betrayal" of the North over Integrated Rail Plan

UNISON General Secretary Christina McAnea and UNISON North West Regional Secretary Kevan Nelson have written to Transport for the North board members ahead of the TfN's board meeting today (Wednesday). The letter has been written in response to the release of the Integrated Rail Plan for the North and Midlands and calls out the Government's "gross betrayal" of the North. The full content of the letter can be seen below.

Dear TfN Board Member,

Re: Integrated Rail Plan for the North and Midlands

I am writing to you on behalf of the UNISON membership following the release of the Integrated Rail Plan for the North and Midlands by the Department for Transport. The watered down proposals and huge cuts contained within this plan will have a severe detrimental impact on our economy and infrastructure for decades and generations to come. It is another set of broken promises, a gross betrayal of the north of England, with a confetti like sprinkling of new pledges that will never be fulfilled. This is a government that refuses to do what's right for transport infrastructure in the north.

The Integrated Rail Plan will also have a devastating affect on Transport for the North. TfN was set up as an independent statutory body to advise central government on the region’s transport and infrastructure needs and allow northern leaders to shape transport policy based on the true needs of our local areas. The government's announcement is a measure clearly designed to roll back devolution to the regions, return power to the centre and stifle strong, informed voices speaking up for the north.

Last week's letter from David Hughes of the DfT to Martin Tugwell clearly outlines that from April 2022, the Department will cut the funding grant in respect of Northern Powerhouse Rail. With such a significant cut to the overall budget of TfN, there are very real concerns that this will be translated into job losses through redundancy for UNISON members employed within the organisation. Since the announcement, many TfN employees have been in contact with our workplace representatives raising concerns about their job security and future. With over 140 staff based in TfN, this is a significant number of people adversely affected in this way.

Our members within TfN are dedicated public servants, with a deep professional and personal commitment to improve public transport across the north. They do not deserve to read about the future of their jobs on Twitter. At the next TfN Board meeting, due to take place this Wednesday, I would ask that as well as raising the severe cut to our transport infrastructure represented by the Integrated Rail Plan, you would also raise the issue of its implications TfN and its employees. In particular, making a commitment than any workforce changes will only be implemented following full and proper consultation, and to ensure that all relevant TfN policies and procedures are adhered to. If you would like to discuss anything in relation to the contents of this letter or require any further information, please do not hesitate to get in touch. The contact details for Vic Walsh, UNISON North West Regional Organiser with responsibility for TfN, are listed above.

Yours sincerely,

UNISON General Secretary Christina McAnea, UNISON North West Regional Secretary Kevan Nelson

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