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What the RMT says

The RMT has vowed to resist Network Rail’s plans to cut jobs in a bid to reduce the cost of renewing and maintaining the network. It claims that 1,448 posts have been earmarked for the axe, 650 of them on the West Coast Main Line.

That route has suffered significant problems since completion of its multi-billion pound upgrade. The union believes that the line will be thrown into “total chaos” if the proposed job cuts are allowed to go through.

The West Coast Main Line has suffered significant problems since its upgrade was completed.
Photo: MattBuck4950

Bob Crow, RMT General Secretary, believes that “With the well-documented history of infrastructure problems and failures on the West Coast Main Line, it simply defies all logic that Network Rail could even be considering axing 650 maintenance jobs as part of their national cost reduction plan. We should also remember that the Grayrigg disaster occurred on the WCML and that reports into that incident fingered systemic problems with the maintenance regime. Under those circumstances alone, it beggars belief that Network Rail could be even considering hundreds of maintenance job cuts.”

He went on to denounce the wider programme of redundancies as “stupid”, increasing the risk of a major accident. “This is a recipe for disaster and risks taking us back to the dark old days of Railtrack and the cuts which led to the crashes at Potter's Bar, Hatfield and Paddington. The company wants to change the way our members work but we’re not prepared to see their safety compromised.”

According to the union, Network Rail had previously given an assurance to Transport Secretary Lord Adonis that the company would not impose any compulsory redundancies as a result of its cost-cutting programme.

Source: RMT News (Sept 2009), RMT press releases (23rd October 2009 & 4th November 2009)

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