Labour MEP Alex Mayer has voted against the compulsory opening up of railway contracts across Europe to private sector operators as the new laws do not provide protection for rail workers’ terms and conditions when services are contracted out and also do not ensure good staffing standards on privately-run services.
Despite a long campaign by Labour MEPs and support from UK rail experts and trade unions, the so-called ‘political pillar’ of the Fourth Rail Package looks set to come into force across the European Union in the coming years – including in the UK. The Conservative government are enthusiastic backers of the new laws, and are set to fully implement them regardless of the terms and timing of Brexit.
The ‘political’ pillar of the EU Fourth Rail Package consists of amendments to existing EU rail legislation to provide for a framework for ‘open access’ to passenger train service contracts and lines for commercial train operators. Subject to transitional provisions, the measures will come into force by the end of 2019.
Alex Mayer MEP said: “As shown by the current rail crisis, too much automatic emphasis on the running of services by the private sector is letting down passengers.”