The union understands the Government has amended its guidance relating to changes to ticket office opening hours, clearing the way for train operating companies to seek to cut or close the majority of ticket offices at railway stations across the country.
The RMT – National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers – believes this will make the railway less safe, secure and accessible and create a ‘muggers paradise’ across the network.
The Rail Delivery Group, which represents train operators, said no decisions have been taken over ticket offices but the pandemic has been an unprecedented financial shock to the railway and many jobs will need to change.
The union has now launched a Staff Our Stations campaign to protect ticket offices.
Mick Lynch, RMT general secretary, said: “The rail industry has made no secret of its goal of closing all ticket offices and the floodgates have now been opened for an annihilation of ticket offices across the network.
“Ticket office staff not only enhance the passenger experience, but they ensure our railways are safe, secure and accessible. Wholescale ticket office closures would be disastrous for passengers and leave our railway deserted. Disabled and elderly passengers will be particularly affected.
“This once more proves that the government’s 'levelling up' agenda is a sham and that England's rail is being downgraded driving unnecessary social tensions between Britain's nations and demonstrating a political choice has been made to downgrade England's rail users compared to Wales and Scotland.
“Make no mistake, RMT is ready to use all means at our disposal to fight any attacks on ticket offices, we will be launching a widespread public and political campaign to protect ticket offices and our station staff members’ jobs.”
A spokesman for the Rail Delivery Group, which represents train operators, said: “The pandemic has been an unprecedented financial shock to the railway.
“While no decisions have been taken over ticket offices, with the acceleration of changing travel patterns and more passengers migrating to digital technology, many jobs will need to change to become more passenger-centric.
“Train companies want to work with unions on how to address those changes, while making sure the industry takes no more than its fair share from the taxpayer.”