RAIL UNION RMT today announced arrangements for a rally and lobby of parliament on Wednesday 27th January 2010 in the fight to stop the axing of nearly 1500 safety-critical maintenance jobs by Network Rail. A timetable for a national ballot for industrial action by rail maintenance staff will be confirmed shortly.
The severe weather conditions this week have underlined the importance of having proper staffing levels on the rail network with reports that some of the transport problems have been worsened by a shortage of crew to de-freeze tracks and points – and that’s before Network Rail push through a further 1500 job cuts.
The RMT lobby of parliament – under the banner Cuts Cost Lives – will assemble at 12.30pm on Wednesday 27th January on Old Palace Yard opposite the House of Commons. It will be followed by a rally at 2.15pm in Committee Room 14 before RMT members and supporters lobby individual MP’s.
RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said:
“The severe cold snap has reinforced RMT’s argument that you cannot cut corners when it comes to rail maintenance. If anything we need more staff to cope with these periods of pressure and there is no doubt that if Network Rail bulldoze through this jobs massacre it will cause service disruption on a massive scale.
The planned 1500 job cuts also represent a lethal gamble with rail safety. Inspection and maintenance frequencies will be hacked back and it will create the poisonous cocktail of conditions that will jack up the risk of another Hatfield, Potters Bar, Paddington or Grayrigg disaster on the tracks.
At a time when there is a political consensus that we need to expand and modernise the rail network it is madness to be hacking back on the maintenance crews that we depend on to keep the railways safe.
RMT will fight the rail jobs massacre all the way and we will shortly announce a timetable for a ballot for industrial action. A combination of trade union, political and public pressure can stop the planned axing of 1500 safety-critical rail maintenance jobs in its tracks.”