Today, October 8, the European Ministers of Transport meet in Luxembourg to discuss and possibly adopt a common approach on the political pillar of the 4th railway package. On this occasion and within the ITF’s Action week under the motto “Transport workers fighting back! Organizing globally”, the Railway transport section of ETF organizes a protest in front of the building where the meeting of the Council of Ministers takes place. With their protest, European railway workers demand for:
Keeping the possibility of direct award for rail public service contracts; the two procedures direct award and competitive tendering shall be on equal footing!
Compulsory social standards in tendering specifications and compulsory transfer of staff in the case of change of operator!
This is not the first protest organized by the ETF on this legislative initiative of the Commission. As a member of the ETF, FTTUB has repeatedly stated that the imposition of liberalization and competition through European legislation is an interference in the competences of the Member States to organize their internal rail passenger transport. We believe that Member States should retain the power to organize their national railway system and to open its domestic market to competition, depending on geographic location, demographics, history, economic, social and environmental conditions. The past experience shows that the liberalization of international rail passenger transport, carried out in 2010, led to an increase in ticket prices and costs for public funding, but not to the growth in the sector. At the same time, the experience of implementing the principle of tendering procedures in the award of public transport service shows that workers are under threat of losing their jobs when changing operator.
Therefore, today, along with all railway workers in Europe, FTTUB demands for freedom of choice in the organization of passenger rail services and social protection of employees and believes that the Council of Ministers will take the right decisions.