Network Rail plans big maintenance worker job cuts

Aaron Morby 4 months ago
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Network Rail is planning wholesale changes to the way it maintains the railways with up to 2,600 maintenance jobs said to be at risk in a major cost-saving drive.

Big shake-up in Network Rail maintenance regime planned
Big shake-up in Network Rail maintenance regime planned

Talks are due to start on Thursday with unions about plans to reduce operation costs as Network Rail chiefs prepare to transition to Great British Railways next year.

According to union TSSA, representing professional, clerical and managerial workers, the rail infrastructure company is proposing large cuts from its maintenance and works delivery workforce.

It is said to be planning to scrap the front-line ‘operative’ role, abandon certain pieces of maintenance work, and reduce the size of teams who maintain Britain’s railways.

Union chiefs also expressed serious concerns about a reduction of Maintenance Scheduled Tasks, warning this posed a safety risk to the railways as fewer inspections and regular maintenance work would take place. 

Network Rail is keeping tight-lipped about details of its cost-saving plan ahead of the first round of consultation talks with unions.

“We want a sustainable future for our railway.  For that to happen, we need to make a permanent reduction in our operational costs,” said a Network Rail spokesperson.

“Maintenance is the biggest single area of operational spend within Network Rail and we haven’t modernised the way we do that work or how we deploy our people in over 10 years.

“We have shared ideas with our trades unions about how we can modernise to create better and safer jobs for our people.

“No firm proposals have been tabled yet and we would like to continue discussing the ideas with our trades unions.   We would never put forward plans that make the railway or our employees less safe .”

But TSSA said that Network Rail job cuts could have “devastating consequences” for rail safety.

It warned strike action would be considered if unsafe cuts were made or compulsory redundancies put forwards. 

Manuel Cortes, TSSA general secretary, said: “What Network Rail is proposing is massive job cuts and massive changes to working practices which could have devastating consequences to the safe running of our rail industry. We fundamentally disagree with NR’s claim that some of this work is unnecessary

“Staffing cuts and reduction in maintenance work could see a return to the bad old days of Railtrack when rail infrastructure wasn’t properly maintained and saw some of the most deadly and devastating rail accidents.

“Make no mistake, if we think NR is making unsafe cuts – or if any one of our members faces compulsory redundancy – we will be balloting for industrial action.”

 

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