Network Rail says it wants to work ‘constructively’ with unions to address the anticipated changes to come in a post-pandemic rail era.
However, the changes are said to hang thousands of jobs in the balance according to leading rail union RMT (Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) as government purposes extensive spending cuts in attempts to modernize the rail network.
The union has launched a social media campaign and sent details to all its Network Rail members, warning they face an open-ended pay freeze and a “wholescale attack” on working conditions.
Network Rail chief executive Andrew Haines: “Outdated practices, and the impact of Covid on passenger numbers, show that the railway is not serving passengers, taxpayers or staff as well as it should.”
“That’s why we want to work constructively with the unions to create an industry fit for the 21st century that is genuinely safe, efficient and effective for everyone”
However, the union believe the government and Network Rail should try and be more cautious in regards to the way it looks to proceed. As many of workers whose role were classed as ‘essential’ during lockdown are now at risk., specifically safety and maintenance work.
General secretary Mick Cash said “Rail staff, who have been essential workers throughout the pandemic, have already had a kick in the teeth with an attempt to impose the government’s pay freeze.”
“Now they are threatened with the loss of thousands of jobs accompanied by a drastic dilution of safety tasks, which will have catastrophic consequences for rail safety.”
With a clear clash of perspectives and view-points, industrial strike action is a trajectory the Union are not afraid to take. As the rail industry goes into new and unprecedented changes in order to accommodate the return of costumers with governments relaxation of travel restrictions, general processions and new service strategies.
There is definitely more to come from government and union sources in regards to what exact and tangible changes will