Lobby of Network Rail offices - Defend Jobs - Put Safety First


Members will be aware that in the name of efficiency savings Network Rail is deferring almost thirty per cent of previously planned renewals work for 2009/10.

The union estimates that 1000 jobs could be under threat by the deferrals which coupled with the cutting of scaling back of maintenance regimes and inspections will hugely increase safety risks.

The result is that not only will contractors be laying off skilled staff because of the way Network Rail is choosing to manage its work, but essential upgrades are being delayed which will adversely impact on the provision of services to passengers.

Network Rail admits in their own 2009-10 business plan that a “huge reduction in track renewals expenditure” will have a “major impact on the supply chain” with “20% - 30% less heavy materials” resulting in “supply chain redundancies”. The decision will have a knock on effect on the rail freight industry and in addition a whole range of other industries such as Quarrying and Steel.

Network Rail’s actions are making a mockery of the Government’s stated intention to bring forward infrastructure projects to boost employment. Network Rail is responsible to the Government and dependent on Government subsidy, yet its directors are creating a climate which will result in a hemorrhaging of jobs from the rail industry. The union has been campaigning to reverse the decision,

Both the union and our parliamentary group have raised our concerns at meetings with the Secretary of Transport and other Government Ministers.

The issue has been raised by the Parliamentary Group at transport questions and in a recent parliamentary debate on the government’s rail strategy.

David Drew MP has tabled the following parliamentary motion to highlight our concerns. That this House welcomes efforts by the Government to lessen the impact of the recession and save jobs by intervening in the private sector industries, such as the car industry; notes with concern that Network Rail, which is heavily reliant on billions of pounds of Government subsidy is deferring 28 per cent. of rail renewals work, such as track and signals replacements; notes that Network Rail has confirmed in its 2009-10 business plan that this huge reduction in track renewals expenditure will have a major impact on the supply chain with 20 to 30 per cent. less heavy materials resulting in supply chain redundancies; is appalled that this will mean massive job cuts and supports the view of the rail unions that Network Rail's actions undermine the Government's stated intentions to use infrastructure projects to boost employment; further notes with concern that Network Rail is cutting the frequency of track inspections and routine signals maintenance which, combined with the reduction in renewals work, will significantly raise safety risks to passengers and workers; urges the Government to use its power as funder of Network Rail immediately to intervene to ensure that this essential rail renewals work is not deferred, to introduce a moratorium on job cuts and to develop an industry-wide strategy to ensure that railways can be managed in a way which mitigates rather than exacerbates the effects of the economic downturn.

The union will be making a further intervention in a Government debate on the railways on Monday and will be calling a lobby of parliament for public ownership to defend all jobs and services in the rail industry and on London Underground on 5th May.

In the meantime please support the lobby of Network Rail’s Offices, 90 York Way, N1 9AG, at 11.00, Friday 20 March 2009. Map here.