THE RMT has declared a national dispute in protest at changes at Network Rail which the union claims will lead to thousands of redundancies and a halving of safety critical maintenance work.
RMT general secretary Mick Cash is seeking an urgent meeting with transport secretary Grant Shapps.
Mr Cash said: ‘Under orders from the Government Network Rail is using the Covid-19 drop in passenger numbers and service levels to rush through the most radical restructuring of the railway infrastructure since privatisation.
‘Rather than the post Covid-19 return to rail recovery which our economy and climate desperately needs this is a return to the disastrous days of Railtrack where cutting costs and corners led to a string of fatal accidents.
‘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.’
Railnews has invited Network Rail to comment.