Page last updated at 18:19 GMT, Tuesday, 15 December 2009

MPs urge Network Rail to rethink maintenance staff cut

Network Rail maintenace staff on a line outside London
Network Rail says it has to cut jobs to save money

Network Rail has been urged by MPs to reconsider plans to sack railway maintenance workers.

David Lepper, Labour MP for Brighton Pavilion, tabled an Early Day Motion opposing "the decision of Network Rail to introduce compulsory redundancies".

He said the government-subsidised company should be expanding its workforce to improve safety.

Network Rail said it would use new technology to improve the railways and no final decisions had been made.

The House of Commons motion, also signed by former transport minister and West Worthing Conservative MP Peter Bottomley, said MPs were "extremely concerned" at the decision to introduce compulsory redundancies amongst rail maintenance workers.

Evolving techniques

The motion added that they were "alarmed at the safety implication" of reducing a workforce responsible for safe inspection and repair of track, signals and other rail infrastructure.

It said the cuts would affect most of the rail network, and include "the loss of 40 jobs on Network Rail's Sussex route".

Network Rail said it could not confirm the number of Sussex jobs affected.

Similar Early Day Motions relating to Network Rail cuts in other parts of the UK have also been tabled.

Our plans to restructure maintenance depots will enable us to direct resources to where they are needed
Network Rail spokesman

A company spokesman said maintenance techniques had to evolve as they "become more efficient".

He said: "We are continuing with discussions on our plans with our people and their union representatives, and no final decisions have been made.

"Our plans to restructure maintenance depots will enable us to direct resources to where they are needed and enable them to be more responsive."

Network Rail would not jeopardise its safety record, he added.

The firm, which employs 33,000 people, announced in September that it would cut 2,549 jobs, including sub-contractors.



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