RAIL UNION RMT confirmed today that it will be balloting members on Network Rail maintenance, and other staff affected by reorganisation plans, for national industrial action over threatened redundancies as part of the proposed axing of nearly 1500 rail maintenance jobs.
The national ballot for action will begin in the New Year with RMT also fighting attempts by Network Rail to rip up existing agreements and to unilaterally impose new working arrangements.
RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said:
“The plan to axe 1500 maintenance jobs across the rail network is a reckless gamble with rail safety which would create the perfect conditions for another Hatfield, Paddington, Potters Bar or Grayrigg disaster.
We saw under Railtrack the lethal consequences of cutting back on maintenance and Network Rail now want to turn the clock back to those dark days by forcing staff out of the door in order to hit budget targets. It’s outrageous and we have no option but to ballot for action.
The past few days have shown that there are already too few staff to deal with the freezing conditions on the tracks. Many of the problems that have hit the railways have been down to not enough engineers being available to unfreeze points and tracks. The 1500 planned job cuts will hit services and safety with dire consequences for staff and passengers alike.”