Union threatens strike action and train disruption if jobs are cut at Milton Keynes-based Network Rail

Network Rail job cuts will be met with an industrial action ballot, warns TSSA

By Sally Murrer
Thursday, 20th May 2021, 11:25 am
Updated Thursday, 20th May 2021, 11:26 am

Rail and transport union TSSA has today warned Network Rail that any “salami slicing” of jobs before crucial rail industry talks conclude will be met with an industrial action ballot.

Following reports that Network Rail (NR) is set to slash up to 9,000 jobs, TSSA general secretary Manuel Cortes has warned of mass disruption to train operations unless an industry-wide approach is taken with a commitment to no compulsory redundancies.

Rail services are running at around 75% capacity, with passenger numbers still significantly down on pre-Covid levels. The government has said it is spending billions to make up for lost fare income since the start of the Covid crisis.

Network Rail in Milton Keynes

Network Rail says it wants to work constructively with unions to address aby changes needed and 'modernise' work practices.

But unions fear the new approach would lead to thousands of redundancies.

Mr Cortes said: “This is irresponsible scaremongering from Network Rail at a time when huge change in our industry has been announced by the Government.

“NR appears desperate to cut our members’ jobs when what we need is an industry-wide approach. That's why we will not get involved in any salami slicing attempts by NR's top brass until talks at the Rail Industry Recovery Group have concluded.

“Let me be crystal clear, any attempt to use compulsory redundancies by NR or train operators will be met by industrial action ballots and trains will be coming to a halt.”

TSSA is in Rail Industry Recovery Group (RIRG) talks with rail industry leaders about its future. The outcomes of these talks will cover Network Rail and train operators.

Network Rail chief executive Andrew Haines said: “Outdated practices, and the impact of Covid on passenger numbers, show that the railway is not serving passengers, taxpayers or staff as well as it should.”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”