Tues 23 Aug: action vs ticket office closures

A poster in the style of a train ticket.  With the slogan: Cut their profits, not our ticket offices.  With two badges in the bottom corners, I support the rail workers (RMT) and Staff Our Stations (RMT).

On Tuesday 23 August morning, protests against ticket office closures are happening at around 30 train stations across England, organised by We Own It with the RMT and TSSA unions. The main protest will be at King’s Cross station in London from 8.30am, with other protests in different regions.

More info here on how to take part in person or online, and places where protests are happening.

We Own It say:

If none of the actions listed below is near you – download and print out this poster, go to your local train station by yourself or with family and friends, take a selfie/picture of yourself carrying the poster in front of your local train station, and share your picture on social media. If you do not have a social media account, send your picture to info@weownit.org.uk so that we can share it for you. Please tell us where you took action in your email if you send us your picture.” If you don’t have a printer, write or draw your own poster.

The RMT’s Mick Lynch said:

“As well as thousands of job losses this will obviously create accessibility problems for the elderly, people with disabilities and overseas visitors who may not have English as their first language. Without ticket offices and on-station support, huge swathes of passengers could be excluded from the railways altogether. The planned closures are part of a wider industry attack on jobs and services at a time when the private rail industry is taking in excess of £500m in profits annually and many rail bosses have £1m plus pay packets.”

From the RMT flyer Cut profits not services:

While the rail companies are threatening passengers and rail workers with cuts, the companies made a fortune during the Covid-19 pandemic.
A row of three boxes with white graphics on red background.
1) £300m profit for companies who operate trains.
2) £949m profit for companies who own the trains.
3) £235m profit for companies who repair the tracks.

Meanwhile, the Association of British Commuters with disability activists and Professor Philip Alston, the distinguished human rights lawyer and former UN rapporteur, have written an open letter to the Equality and Human Rights Commission. They are demanding that the EHRC intervene now to stop the cuts to rail staff, which contravene the right to independent living. They point to an EHRC statement: “The Commission believes that spontaneous travel is fundamental to the rights of disabled people in realising their right to independent living, under Article 19 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.” March, 2019.

Photo of a demonstration by disabled women and men, with National Pensioners' Convention.  An older woman on a scooter holds a round placard saying Rail Access Now!  Beside her, a man wheelchair user who uses breathing support, holds a leaflet.
Photo thanks to Association of British Commuters

In 2018, as the UN’s special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Prof Alston condemned UK government benefit policies which inflict extreme poverty, especially on mothers and children and disabled people. He highlighted Universal Credit, benefit sanctions and reassessments. This was years before the pandemic and current cost of living crisis.

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