Following the launch of the new CWU Branch in the North West, Preston Brook, Bury And Retail Branch, have wasted no time in getting stuck into local issues which affect not only CWU members, but the whole of the North West commuting community.
Campaigning against the imposition of tolls to access the new Mersey Gateway Bridge between Runcorn and Widnes and the existing bridge; this is their petition on Change.org which they hope readers of this website will support and sign.
The toll system is being run by Emovis and were appointed by Halton Borough Council.
Merseyflow is the name of the website used to register for cheaper toll payments, and even the disabled blue badge holders who get access to the bridges free of the toll charge; have to register and pay a registration fee of £5 for doing so!
Emovis is owned by Spain’s Abertis Group; which claims to be the international market leader in the management of toll roads, managing over 8,600 kilometres of high capacity and quality roads in 14 countries in Europe, the Americas and Asia.
Profits they make from running the toll system will not be invested in the UK but will boost the income of the Spanish company.
Whilst the charge is currently set at £2 per journey across BOTH the Mersey Gateway and the once free to use existing Runcorn/Widnes bridge; given the history of annual price increases applied to the Mersey Tunnels, there is no way that this charge will not be increased by the authority responsible for both bridges.
The immediate cost to CWU members needing to use either bridge in order to get to work is a minimum of £3.60 plus a one-off £5 registration fee, to a maximum of £4 per day – an additional £20 per week: which is around £960 annually; that they do not have to pay currently.
Here is the wording of the petition:
The Mersey Gateway opens in the Autumn of 2017, registration has opened allowing non Halton residents to register for access at a slightly discounted rate of 10%.
During the construction of the new bridge, those who have commuted through the disruption of traffic and road upheaval have done so with a great understanding despite the stress on the infrastructure to access a route to the workplace. They will now be expected to pay a financial toll to cross this bridge even after years of disruption to their daily life.
The Conservative Chancellor at the time George Osbourne suggested to align the toll charges for those within Cheshire West, Chester and Warrington, meaning those within in theses areas would be exempt from the toll charge.
This has since been rejected.
We would seek the Government to extend this toll to give free access to those commuting in from outside of the Halton area such as, Merseyside, North Wales, Chester, Chester West and Warrington areas, who need this access across the Mersey as a lifeline for employment opportunity, education or even visiting family.
The price tag of a 30 year loan of £600,000,000 million results in a £2.1 Billion repayment albatross around the necks of residents, and those living and working in and around the North West region, whose social mobility will no doubt be impacted.
Small and large business will feel the strain of these charges that are imposed and may not be able to afford to align employees pay to assist resulting in movement of work or employees leaving the borough of Halton.
We understand this toll will not only have financial implications to our Communication Workers Union (CWU) members, but also to their friends, families who live and work within the areas aforementioned.
We are therefore calling on the Government to reconsider the implementation of the toll charges, but to do that we also need the support of the public in this campaign.
We approached MP George Howarth of Knowsley ward who tabled an EDM early day motion a number of MP’s have supported this we would like you to assist our campaign in the following:
Contact your local MP and request them to support the EDM –
Link to your MP –
Please show your support for our campaign on social media and share this with friends and family, work colleagues far and wide.
Contact your union if you are not a member of the CWU to gain their support in this campaign.
You can sign the petition by clicking the picture of the new bridge above.
Source: C Ingram / Carl Webb / CWU Preston Brook