Search this site
Delude Retreat Indemnify Prevaricate Squander

Dossier of diminishing standards

The RMT has handed a dossier of safety failures and maintenance cuts to MPs as rail workers lobbied parliament in protest at plans by Network Rail to axe more than 1400 trackworker jobs.

RMT members lobby parliament on 27th January.

Over the past few weeks, staff have been contacting a confidential RMT email address to claim that lives could be put at risk. According to the union, the dossier highlights examples of where the scaling back of work and changing standards in preparation for the job cuts are already leading to a deterioration in safety. Examples include reduced track inspections, delays in repairing faulty level crossings and reduced inspections on signalling equipment.

The demonstration outside the Palace of Westminster was intended to send out the message that 'rail cuts cost lives', and called on MPs and the government to demand that Network Rail halts its redundancy plans.

"We are sending a clear message to MPs that the rail maintenance job cuts are a lethal gamble", said the union's General Secretary Bob Crow, "creating the perfect conditions for another Hatfield, Potters Bar or Grayrigg railway tragedy."

...maintenance job cuts are a lethal gamble, creating the perfect conditions for another Hatfield, Potters Bar or Grayrigg railway tragedy.

"The jobs to be axed are of those workers responsible for inspecting and repairing the track, signals, level crossings and overhead lines. They work 365 days a year, day and night in all conditions to keep the railway safe. Now they are going to be sacked as part of a so-called 'efficiency' drive and we are calling on MPs of all parties to join us in a campaign to stop these fatally flawed cuts from being bulldozed through."

According to Frances O'Grady, TUC Deputy General Secretary, "Network Rail needs to listen to its workforce who work hard to keep up rigorous inspections on the UK’s railway network and who know that safety could be compromised if 1,500 maintenance workers are made redundant."

"While senior executives at Network Rail are paying themselves huge bonuses, they seem quite happy to cut crucial jobs on the railway, potentially risking the safety of passengers and other railway employees. Transport Minister Lord Adonis must step in to persuade Network Rail from putting large numbers of its highly skilled, productive workers onto the dole before the UK is barely out of recession."

However, a Network Rail spokesman told the BBC that there would be "no compromise on safety" as a consequence of the job losses but the company had a "clear commitment" to taxpayers to reduce costs. He added, "A common structure, new technology, higher standards and better knowledge of our assets will allow us to focus our efforts improving our service for passengers, providing a safe, efficient and reliable railway."

The spokesman said that Network Rail was always willing to talk to the RMT about its concerns.

Story added 27th January 2010

Back to Death by a Thousand Cuts home page

RMT TV (YouTube)
Video and interviews from the parliamentary lobby.

Page Top

Front Page | Safety Valve | Jungle Ron | Newshound | Red Tape | On The Line
Four by Three | Forgotten Relics of an Enterprising Age | God's Own County | Image Library

© Four by Three 2014