NETWORK Rail has dismissed claims employees would lose their jobs for refusing to move within 75 minutes of the its new headquarters in Milton Keynes.
The Transport Salaried Staffs Association claimed the firm was about to sack 850 staff for living outside of a 75-minute radius of its new centre near the railway station, set to open in June this year.
TSSA general secretary Maniel Cortes said: “This is an unfair and arbitrary decision which we believe to be unlawful.
“They are telling staff they cannot follow their jobs in the worst recession in 70 years.
“With unemployment heading towards three million, where else are they going to find work in these hard times?”
However, Network Rail refuted the claims saying many staff were keen to move to the area and some had already relocated, with the help of Network Rail, in anticipation of the new facility opening.
The spokesman also confirmed that around 150 staff who currently still live outside the 75-minute radius will be dealt with on an individual basis before any further measures are taken.
A spokesman for Network Rail said: “We are pulling together dozens of offices from around the country into one national centre at Milton Keynes that will deliver a better, more efficient way of working and save taxpayers tens of millions of pounds per year.
“We are talking and working with each individual about the move, encouraging relocation, making help available and putting transitional arrangements in place.”
The new Network Rail facility, which is in the final stages of being built on the site of the old National Hockey Stadium in Central Milton Keynes, will house around 3,000 employees, two thirds of which will be made up of existing Network Rail staff, while the rest look set to be employeed within the area.