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As lockdown restrictions ease and we start to consider travelling again, the future of cross-Channel operator Eurostar remains uncertain.
Eurostar is seeking financial support from the UK Government, citing higher access charges here as a reason.
The French Government has pledged to provide support for the operator, while £200 million has been provided by one of its shareholders, Caisse de Dépôt et Placement du Québec (CDPQ) and Hermes Infrastructure.
Registered in the UK and supporting 3,000 jobs either with the business or in the supply chain, the company is, however, 55% owned by SNCF (French state rail), 40% by CDPQ/Hermes and 5% by SNCB (Belgian state railways).
So: Should the UK Government provide financial assistance to Eurostar?

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EXCLUSIVE: Hope for resolution to disputes over role of guards

RMT General Secretary Mick Cash has urged Northern, South Western Railway, Merseyrail and Govia Thameslink Railway to heed the agreement struck with Greater Anglia on July 19, over the role of guards (RAIL 858).

Union members voted to accept an offer made by GA which guarantees the role of the guard and halts the extension of Driver Only Operation on its services, bringing an end to a long-running dispute that has involved 12 days of industrial action being taken in the last year

RMT remains in dispute with the four other train operating companies over the retention of a second safety-critical member of staff onboard trains, but Cash believes that negotiated settlements could now be reached across the board following the breakthrough with GA.

He said: “The GA agreement shows that we’re serious about doing deals. Now it’s up to other operators to be as serious as we are, which we’ve not seen so far.

“We still have four disputes ongoing over keeping a second safety-critical member of staff on the train, but we’re confident that we’ll get resolutions thanks to the determination of our members.”

On a visit to the Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education on July 30, Shadow Transport Secretary Andy McDonald told RAIL: “I am optimistic because it shows what can be achieved when people sit down and talk, and I’m more confident that we will now see progress made with other operators.

  • For the FULL story, read RAIL 859, published on August 15, and available digitally from August 11. 
  • For the FULL story regarding the SWR dispute, read RAIL 858, available now.
  • For the FULL story regarding the GA agreement, read RAIL 858, available now.
  • For EXCLUSIVE interviews with the unions, read upcoming editions of RAIL

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