Durham University Labour Club has backed the rail union RMT in their dispute against LNER’s proposed cuts to ticket office hours.
The proposals would see ticket office hours cut in 13 stations across the rail line, including Durham station.
The DULC told Palatinate: “Durham University Labour Club unequivocally supports the efforts of the RMT in this dispute”.
“These cuts are, frankly, an insult. Throughout the pandemic the RMT members have performed a heroic task, putting themselves at risk by coming to work every day, at the height of Covid.”
“These proposals to cut ticket office hours by LNER is both an affront to workers and a danger to the public. Passengers and staff alike will be the victim of these plans”.
RMT have been arguing against these cuts over the last week, staging protests in Durham on Monday, with further protests planned in York and Darlington for Wednesday.
The union believes that the cuts will worsen passenger safety, security, and accessibility which will negatively affect the post-Covid-19 recovery of the railway, a sentiment echoed by DULC.
These protests are part of the Staff Our Stations Campaign which is aiming to increase the number of staff in stations across the North East region.
General Secretary of RMT Mick Lynch said: “At these events, RMT will be telling passengers across the North East about the threats to stations and the proposals to significantly reduce ticket office opening hours at key stations on the LNER network”.
“Rather than cynically exploiting the Covid crisis to cut station staffing and attack ticket offices, the Government should be investing in creating a sustainable, reliable, accessible rail network in public ownership, which works for passengers, not profit”.
DULC have called on students to support the campaign saying on their Twitter account: “If you’re still in Durham at the minute please support the fantastic work of the RMT”.
In their statement to Palatinate DULC blamed the situation on the privatisation of railways, saying “we need a railway system run for public need, rather than for profit”.
“Marketisation of rail is the enemy of workers and students alike. We stand shoulder to shoulder with those affected by these plans”.
In Durham the current ticket office hours are Monday to Thursday, 6am to 7:30pm, Friday 6am to 8pm, Saturday 6am to 7pm, and Sunday, 8am to 8pm.
Under these proposals the office would be open Monday to Friday, 6am to 6pm, Saturday, 7am, to 5pm and Sunday 9am to 4pm.
A public consultation is being held by Transport Focus and London TravelWatch until the 20th of September over these proposals, with the implementation of them dependant on the results.
Image by Thomas Tomlinson