Rail Union RMT is trying to increase the pressure on the Government to step in with a rescue package for the Railcare works in Wolverton as it emerged that a question mark now hangs over the future of the royal train which has been based at the depot for the past 98 years.
Railcare was forced into administration through a short-term cash flow crisis last week and on Friday over 150 job losses – around 40 per cent of the total permanent staff – were announced across the company’s two sites in Wolverton and Glasgow.
The collapse of the company, threatening a total of nearly 500 permanent and agency jobs, has been sparked by delays to the Government’s rail franchising timetable in the wake of the West Coast shambles, claims the RMT.
“Railcare has a full order book from October and work for at least the next three to four years in the pipeline including a massive programme of works for the delayed First Great Western fleet contract and the cascading of the Thameslink fleet,” said the RMT in a statement.
“It simply needs Government cash flow support to get it through the last few weeks of the summer, but so far Vince Cable has refused to act, making a mockery of the BIS stated objectives of supporting UK skilled engineering jobs.
“RMT and UNITE met Government officials yesterday to press the case for urgent intervention but no package is yet forthcoming. RMT has pressed the case for Railcare to be taken into public ownership, the same as the failed banks, and for the publicly-owned Network Rail to have the opportunity to run the business.”
RMT general secretary Bob Crow said: “Not only are hundreds of jobs and 175 years of railway history threatened by the Governments refusal to assist Railcare but we now find that the future of the Royal Train is thrown into the mix as well.”