Search this site
Delude Retreat Indemnify Prevaricate Squander

Staff shortages prompt prohibition

The RMT has again called for an immediate halt to Network Rail’s plans to axe more than 1,400 maintenance jobs after it was revealed that the company has been served with a Prohibition Notice by the Office of Rail Regulation. It has been prompted by a shortage of lookouts for patrolling activities in South Wales.

In the notice, Dr Liesel von Metz of HM Inspector of Railways, says that "I am of the opinion that there is an immediate risk of harm to the trackworkers undertaking foot patrols on the railway line between Cardiff Central and Aberdare, Rhymney, Treherbert and Merthyr Tydfil. I have therefore served Prohibition Notice P/LVM/20100205/01 on Network Rail Infrastructure Ltd, requiring that the activity of crossing structures with no place of safety under RZ (Red Zone) conditions be ceased.”

...there is an immediate risk of harm to the trackworkers undertaking foot patrols...

The union has repeatedly warned that the maintenance job cuts planned by Network Rail - which are already being implemented by the non-filling of vacancies - would have lethal consequences. According to the RMT, the South Wales Prohibition Notice reinforces this case.

Evidence of cuts in the number and frequency of inspections and maintenance works has been assembled after Network Rail staff from across the country contacted an RMT email hotline.

A shortage of lookouts has prompted a red zone patrolling ban over some structures with no position of safety.

“The Inspectorate has given Network Rail a red card in South Wales and slapped the highest sanction it can on them other than dragging them into court" said Bob Crow, the union's General Secretary. "That is how serious the shortage of staff has become and we know from reports from our members that we are facing the same lethal cocktail of planned staff cuts and unfilled vacancies right across the country."

“We are heading for a major disaster out on the tracks if Network Rail don’t slam the breaks on the maintenance job cuts programme. The Government cannot stand idly by while safety-critical posts are either axed or left unfilled in a reckless gamble with staff and passenger lives.”

However, speaking to People Management magazine, a Network Rail spokesman dismissed any link between the proposed job cuts and the prohibition notice, claiming that the union had linked two disparate matters. "The issue down in Wales is a separate one and we are working with the regulator to investigate what has happened", he continued.

Story added 16th February 2010

Back to Death by a Thousand Cuts home page
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