Network Rail Fined - But What's The Point?

Submitted by Janine on Sat, 03/31/2007 - 18:56

Could someone please explain to me how fining Network Rail four million quid for the Paddington crash does anything to prevent such corporate murder happening again - or represents any kind of justice for the victims?

NR - Railtrack's successor organisation - was prosecuted for a series of health & safety offences rather than for killing its passengers and both train drivers, because New Labour has still not delivered its long-promised toughening of corporate manslaughter legislation. It's another betrayal, creating more victims of Blair's determination to let bosses off the hook whatever the cost to ordinary people.

The court ruling has no control over how Network Rail will pay the fine. Perhaps by attacking workers, or raising charges, or reducing safety standards. More appropriate - but far less likely - would be by cancelling all bonuses to its fat-cat directors.

The Crown Prosecution Service's statement talks of "disastrous and inexcusable failures" by Railtrack, which "led directly to the appalling tragedy" of 5th October 1999. But not only can it not prosecute for corporate killing, neither can the CPS hold to account the political cause of this and other rail crashes - the Tories' privatisation of the railways and New Labour's refusal to reverse it.

It will be down to the rail unions and the rest of the labour movement to force the only genuine "closure" of this issue - the return of our railways to public ownership, this time under democratic workers' and passengers' control.

Trade Unions