Network Rail has rejected claims by the RMT Union that it plans to sack 13,000 maintenance workers and re-hire fewer staff under new terms and conditions.
The RMT said Network Rail “threatened” to make the dismissals during reorganisation talks attended by RMT representatives. It claimed that the move was “a bid to bulldoze through a multi-billion pound cuts package”.
RMT general secretary Bob Crow wrote to Network Rail chief executive Iain Coucher last week, demanding he abandon plans to make the job cuts.
“We’re seeking around 1,800 voluntary leavers who will get a full redundancy package. We want to continue to have constructive dialogue with the unions to help us make this process as smooth as possible.”
Network Rail spokesman
Crow accused the rail operator of trying to “bully our members into signing up to job losses and attacks on their terms and conditions”. “RMT is seeking a clear assurance that Network Rail will stick to the promises it has given transport secretary Lord Adonis on no compulsory redundancies, an assurance that has been relayed by the minister to the RMT group of MPs,” he said.
But Network Rail said its workforce reorganisation plans were different to those claimed by the RMT. “We’re seeking around 1,800 voluntary leavers who will get a full redundancy package,” said a spokesman.
“We want to continue to have constructive dialogue with the unions to help us make this process as smooth as possible.
“We need to restructure the way our maintenance teams are organised, and with new technology and modern ways of working we simply need less people to maintain a railway that’s in the best condition it’s ever been in,” said the spokesman.
In August Network Rail announced it would cut 1,800 jobs by April 2011.
It then confirmed that it would cut the number of agency maintenance workers by 700.