RAIL LINK Engineering is still haemorrhaging staff, despite Deputy Prime Minister John Prescotts decision last week to give London & Continental Railways more time to solve its funding crisis.
The RLE consortium, which is responsible for project management and design on the Channel Tunnel Rail Link, has already lost a substantial number of staff, according to one insider.
An RLE spokeswoman confirmed this week that staff numbers will continue to be cut. It has been necessary for us to start an orderly run down of the business which will have to continue at a slower rate, she said.
This run down is going ahead despite Prescott extending LCRs deadline for a rescue package until 31 March. Last week he told Parliament that LCR had produced a framework proposal, but one which needs to be further developed.
Recruitment specialists in London put the number of people made redundant by RLE at a hundred a week for the past couple of weeks. And they claimed that even if this rate does slow, continuing uncertainty is prompting many to leave voluntarily.
One recruitment consultant who visited RLE offices on Monday said: Another lot of redundancies were due to be announced today. They have now been given a reprieve but my impression is that if they were offered a good contract they would go elsewhere.
An RLE source said that people were being made redundant at the end of every week, and that vrious demobilisation dates were being given out to staff.
Release dates are all based on the requirements of particular activities. There is no discrimination between admin and technical staff or contract and perm- anent staff, said the source.
A leading engineering recruitment agency said that so far it had been approached mainly by staff with four to five years experience. But another agency claimed that senior project managers and design staff have also started to leave.
Most of the knowledge on the job is in peoples heads, so if it does go ahead RLE will have to start again from a low base, said a spokesman.