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Dangerous gamble?

The RMT has warned that the severe weather problems affecting the railways, which have led to many cancellations on key routes, expose the dangerous gamble of plans to axe more than 1400 maintenance jobs.

On Monday 4th January, a freight train derailed at Carrbridge in Scotland leading to diversions and disruption; two trains collided at Exeter Saint David’s. The union says it will be closely monitoring investigations into the two incidents which it believes have "both reinforced the priority that has to be given to safety and the essential role of the maintenance crews."

Incidents during the ongoing cold snap have demonstrated the essential work of on-track maintenance workers, says the RMT.
Photo: Ingy the Wingy

A schedule will shortly be announced for a ballot of Network Rail maintenance members for industrial action in response to the planned jobs cuts. A lobby of Parliament - part of the union's “Cuts Cost Lives” campaign - will take place on the 27th January.

RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said "Hundreds of the track crew members out there today in appalling conditions trying to keep the railways running face the prospect of being slung on the scrapheap as part of Network Rail's job cuts programme. RMT is fighting those job cuts every step of the way and will begin balloting for action shortly.

"The severe weather has shown that we are already short of staff when we come under pressure and that makes a nonsense of the drive to axe nearly 1500 of these crucially important workers. You can't run safe and efficient rail services by cutting corners and slashing jobs. The dangers for both passengers and staff of Network Rail’s reckless gamble have been underlined by the freezing weather."

You can't run safe and efficient rail services by cutting corners and slashing jobs.

Story added 6th January 2010

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