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Carillion plans job losses as NR renewal cutbacks start to bite

The RMT has this week vowed to fight “vigorously” against planned cuts to renewals work for Network Rail (NR) being carried out by contractor Carillion.

The news was broken as the company handed the union a consultation document that warned that job redundancies and cuts could be imminent. However, no job numbers were disclosed.

Last year, the ORR predicted a greater reliance on a range of safety controls in order to maintain asset safety as a result of NR’s shrunken renewals portfolio. At the time, it predicted this would have “some adverse effect” currently expected on asset condition and performance across the network, particularly earthworks, drainage and structures. This was not a new call and has been made since the start of CP5.

The warning came shortly after the regulator also revealed that higher renewals costs and enhancements underperformance have been key factors to NR’s work costing £1.7bn more than expected so far in CP5. It was also stated that this will leave the company in a worse financial position at the start of the next control period.

However, following the plans by Carillion, which is still one of NR’s top suppliers, the RMT has stated it will take action to stop the cuts, which it claims will “present a direct threat to both jobs and safety”.

“The government and NR have a duty to ensure that our railway is maintained and renewed to the modern and safe standard that the public and our economy needs and deserve,” outspoken general secretary of the union Mick Cash stated. 

He added that the announcement of cutbacks affecting Carillion and other infrastructure companies were a “sure sign of cash and job cuts that will put at risk skilled jobs and also the modern, safe rail infrastructure we desperately need”.

“RMT will not stand by and watch these jobs vanish and will campaign all the way politically and industrially to protect them,” he concluded.

A spokesman for NR commented: “Network Rail continues to heavily invest in Britain’s railways, with spend on renewals growing this year, compared to last. Budgets are constantly under review to ensure we maximise the value from every pound spent.

“As a result, some non-essential renewals work is being postponed and the money diverted into areas that will have more direct impact for passengers – at improving train performance or helping to fund projects that expand and improve the railway.”

A Carillion spokesperson confirmed the company was in dialogue with NR and the unions.

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Boris   26/05/2017 at 12:53

That's just typical Tory ideology isn't it. Cut everything back to the bare bones and not giving a toss if it vastly undermines the efficiency and safety.

Lutz   28/05/2017 at 13:48

@Boris No; it is nothing to do with politics, it is an organisation dealing with the consequences of mishandling it's agreed work bank by shuffling resources to where they are most effective for the current circumstances. If you are looking for "bare-bones", that would be cutting the current funding for the railways by more than a half and assigning the balance to Defence and Health & Welfare were additional funds are desperately needed.

Jimbo   28/05/2017 at 19:46

@Boris - National Rail agreed to a budget but are not able to keep to it, so what are you supposed to do ? Keep giving them extra money ? Lets look at this in a different way. National Rail, the nationalised part of the railways, is cutting down the amount of work and money it is giving to a private construction company, because it has already given more than budgeted to that company. The RMT is not saying that Carillion are working inefficiently, or taking too much profit, only that the public sector is not giving enough money to the private section !?!

Mark Hare   29/05/2017 at 11:06

Boris - I'm sure you'd be happy to pay more tax to fund the extra work wouldn't you? Whether NR have overspent in certain areas through rising costs or mismanaged their budget, either way they can't be given a blank cheque. And what a surprise, Mick Cash hijacking the story to get his own name in the papers yet again. And yet he would probably be the first one to chastise NR for overspending, demanding better value for the taxpayer. Seems like he wants it both ways.

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