Posted 19th March 2021 | 2 Comments

RMT declares national dispute over Network Rail changes

Updated 13.20

THE RMT has declared a national dispute in protest at changes at Network Rail which the union claims will lead to thousands of redundancies and a halving of safety critical maintenance work.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash is seeking an urgent meeting with transport secretary Grant Shapps, but Network Rail chief executive Andrew Haines said modernisation is necessary.

Mr Cash said: ‘Under orders from the Government Network Rail is using the Covid-19 drop in passenger numbers and service levels to rush through the most radical restructuring of the railway infrastructure since privatisation.

‘Rather than the post Covid-19 return to rail recovery which our economy and climate desperately needs this is a return to the disastrous days of Railtrack where cutting costs and corners led to a string of fatal accidents.

‘Rail staff, who have been essential workers throughout the pandemic, have already had a kick in the teeth with an attempt to impose the government’s pay freeze. Now they are threatened with the loss of thousands of jobs accompanied by a drastic dilution of safety tasks, which will have catastrophic consequences for rail safety.’

Network Rail’s Andrew Haines responded: ‘Outdated practices, and the impact of Covid on passenger numbers, show that the railway is not serving passengers, taxpayers or staff as well as it should. That’s why we want to work constructively with the unions to create an industry fit for the 21st century that is genuinely safe, efficient and effective for everyone. I hope the unions will recognise and embrace the need to modernise and will work with us to improve Britain’s rail network.’

Reader Comments:

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  • William English , York

    I hope all staff especially bands 1-4 will get unionised and organised as civil war is about to break out within Network Rail.
    If Tim Shoveler and Andrew Haines thought their manufactured business briefings where bad, they haven’t seen nothing yet,
    Spike, work to rule, no over time, work your 35 hours maximum a week, turn your phone off the second you leave for the day.

  • Neil Palmer, Waterloo

    "I hope the unions will recognise and embrace the need to modernise and will work with us to improve Britain’s rail network.".
    Now there's a man detached from reality. The RMT recognise the need to modernise? If it were up to them we'd still have an RMT member walking in front of every train with a flag.