Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Rail cuts cost lives

The RMT rail union will be out in force at railway stations tomorrow (17 December) to launch the "Rail Cuts Cost Lives" campaign against 1500 threatened Network Rail maintenance job losses. Railworkers in Wrecsam will be among those protesting, not least because Network Rail wants to move the maintenance crews out of town to Chester and reduce their numbers.

It's estimated that 100 of the jobs under threat are in Wales.

RMT members will be leafleting outside the town's main station explaining that the threatened jobs cull on the tracks will compromise safety and take us back to exactly the kind of shambolic maintenance conditions that led to the horrific disasters at Paddington, Hatfield, Potters Bar and Grayrigg.

The Network Rail maintenance cuts are driven by money and a dash for billions of pounds of savings at a time when there is increasing demand for rail travel.

RMT members are already reporting cuts and backlogs in the frequency of track, signals, overhead lines and level crossing inspections and the union is compiling a dossier of evidence of the potentially lethal impact as the cuts programme begins to bite.

Bob Crow, RMT General Secretary, said:

"Network Rail are taking a reckless and cash-driven gamble on rail safety just at the time when we need to be expanding services. When the public realise that important standards are being compromised in the dash for job cuts we know that they will sign up to the RMT's campaign and that's why we are taking our message out to the station forecourts. "The proposes axing of 1500 rail maintenance jobs will have a devastating impact and will be felt right across the UK. This cuts programme must be stopped before we have another disaster on the tracks."

John Tilley, RMT Regional Organiser North West & Eire Region:

"Network rail are playing Russian roulette with frontline rail safety, they seem to have learnt nothing from the reckless mistakes of their predecessor Railtrack. You cannot take out 1500 safety critical rail maintenance jobs, and expect for it to not have an impact on track safety. Independent reports into serious rail accidents at Potters Bar, Hatfield and Grayrigg have all pointed to systematic management failings and unrealistic workloads. It beggars belief that Network Rail can be even contemplating such proposals. RMT will be demanding that politicians in Wales bring this company to its senses and demand an immediate moratorium on these job losses."

Join RMT members and other trade unionists showing solidarity outside Wrecsam Station at 7am handing out postcards to rail users.

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