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£12,000 for a two year lay off

One 49-year-old engineer with 25 years experience on the railways including 19 years with British Rail and five years running his own company was made redundant last December.

He is now unable to work on the railways until the end of 2005.

He had been working for Network Rail for eight months as a senior project manager on the West Coast Main Line upgrade. His job covered a £10M project to replace level crossings with footbridges or underpasses.

'I just thought it was a case of 'last in first out', ' said the engineer who did not want to be named. He was given a £12,000 redundancy payoff.

In February this year, the engineer joined railway consultant Scott Wilson, which knew of his previous employment history.

'But six weeks into the job, I was told that Network Rail had seen my CV and was refusing to pay my salary, ' said the engineer.

Scott Wilson was then forced to lay him off on the grounds that Network Rail would not allow anyone it had made redundant to work for any supplier for two years following dismissal.

'When railway engineers are difficult to come by, I can't get any work, ' he said adding that he knew of up to six other engineers in a similar position.

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