Rail Regulator Intervenes In Dispute Over Axing Of 1500 Rail Maintenance Jobs

RAIL UNION RMT have today welcomed confirmation that the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) have directly intervened with the Government over the safety issues raised by the union over the threat by Network Rail to axe 1500 maintenance jobs.

In a letter to Transport Secretary Lord Adonis, in response to a dossier on the safety implications of the cuts compiled by RMT, Anna Walker, Chair of the ORR says:

“I can assure you that we have been scrutinising Network Rail’s restructuring proposals for some time and we will continue to do so.

We will make our own independent judgement on whether the proposed new structure can safely maintain the railway, and will take appropriate follow up and enforcement action if we believe safety may be compromised as a result of the changes.

“I have asked Ian Prosser, our director of railway safety, to report to the ORR Board on 16 February his conclusions and next steps on the RMT’s concerns and he will then write separately to Bob Crow, to respond to the specific points he has raised……we expect assurance, confirmed by our own inspection activity, that safety will not be compromised as a result of changes made.”

Bob Crow, RMT General Secretary, said:

“We welcome the intervention of the rail regulator in response to the RMT dossier and clearly Network Rail should call an immediate halt to the cuts process that has already left many depots short of staff as vacancies have been left unfilled.

“RMT will continue to collect reports from our members on the ground and will feed this in to the ORR and the Government to reinforce the safety case against these cuts. We have no doubt that the impact of slashing safety-critical maintenance staffing levels to the bone will have fatal consequences if Network Rail are allowed to get away with their plans.”

There is an interview with Assistant General Secretary Mick Cash (posted just before the lobby of parliament) on the issues affecting Network Rail workers at RMTV.org.uk

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